Verizon Communications has said that it is not considering a takeover of Vodafone with or without AT&T, reports Bloomberg.
In a statement Verizon reiterated its interest in Vodafone’s 45 per cent stake in the Verizon Wireless US joint venture but said it doesn’t currently have any intention “to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others”.
The Financial Times’ Alphaville blog yesterday cited “usually reliable people” as saying that Verizon and AT&T were working on a breakup bid for Vodafone with a potential offer of $245 billion for the UK-headquartered operator, a 40 per cent premium on its share price and M&A record.
The scenario would see Verizon gain full ownership of Verizon Wireless and AT&T acquire Vodafone’s European assets.
Verizon is unable to make a bid within six months of saying it isn’t interested, unless Vodafone directors agree to it, a third party makes a bid of a whitewash or a reverse takeover proposal comes from Vodafone.
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Robin Bienenstock wrote in a note that Vodafone is seen as “a very reluctant seller” and that Verizon’s statement suggests Vodafone rebuffed its interests in the stake it holds in Verizon Wireless.
Vodafone is looking to add scale to its business but is struggling with declining service revenue due to a slowdown in Europe. CEO Vittorio Collao has said he wants to gain assets that would allow the company to offer bundled internet, mobile and landline phone services across the continent.
Vodafone shares fell by as much as 3.7 per cent following the Verizon denial after having risen by as much as 6.1 per cent on the back of initial reports about the Verizon and AT&T offer.