Vittorio Colao (pictured), Vodafone Group CEO, said the company would consider a “transformational” merger or acquisition in the future if the price was right, according to a Financial Times report.
Speaking at an investor event in New York, Colao explained that the company’s investment in its networks and wider consolidation in the sector are likely to leave Vodafone in a better position to consider such deals in the longer term.
Vodafone has recently been linked with a number of large potential deals, including tie-ups with AT&T and TIM Participacoes in Brazil, which is controlled by Telecom Italia. It has also been linked to major cable company Liberty Global.
Having sold its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $130 billion a year ago, there has been considerable interest in what Vodafone will do with the proceeds.
Soon after the Verizon transaction was completed, the company embarked on the £7 billion Project Sprint network investment programme.
It has also acquired several fixed providers — Ono in Spain and Kabel Deutschland — as it pursues a quad-play strategy in which it provides mobile fixed telephony, broadband and TV.
Most recently it inked a deal to acquire a majority stake in Greek fixed and broadband player Hellas Online. It also reached a fibre-sharing agreement with rival Portugal Telecom in July.
Colao noted that Vodafone may face competition in the UK from BT, which is believed to be preparing to launch discounted mobile services, via an MVNO agreement with EE, later this year, allowing it to offer a similar breadth of services.
He also stated that European regulators need to focus more on the mobile industry’s low return on investment and that merger approvals should be given unconditionally without conditions to provide wholesale network access.