The two biggest and most selfish carriers in the US, Verizon and AT&T, could be partnering up to purchase Vodafone. Currently, Vodafone is the world’s second largest carrier. The deal, would see Verizon and AT&T offer 260 pence ($3.93) per share for Vodafone. This would represent about 40% premium on the company’s share price. Today, Financial Times is reporting and using “usually reliable people” that claim to have knowledge of the deal. Now if the deal is signed, Vodafone would be valued at $245 billion. Financial Times is also reporting that the deal would be quite complex. Verizon is already owned by Vodafone, well 45% of it is owned by Vodafone, and with this deal Verizon would gain that 45% stake back in its US operations. The remainder of Vodafone’s business outside for the US would go to AT&T. Verizon and AT&T partnering together to purchase Vodafone would make it easier and more likely to make it through all the regulatory hurdles and shares some of the massive risk they’d be taking on by signing such a big deal.
As we said, Vodafone is the world’s second largest telecom, behind China Mobile who has 403 million customers. Vodafone is in a bunch of countries and has a strong presence in Europe. Having AT&T included in the deal would give them the long awaited entry into the European market. While Verizon would finally be able to control its own operation without oversight from Vodafone. We’ve been hearing rumors for quite some time that Verizon was looking to end its relationship with Vodafone, and reports last month suggested that Vodafone and Verizon were considering a wide range of options. Some of those options included merging their two operations or simply going their separate ways.
Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao had brought a bit more speculation to the matter in February when he said “I don’t know” in regards to Vodafone’s stake in Verizon changing. He also said that Vodafone was willing to keep an open mind “on everything.”
This is a pretty big deal. Not only will it give Verizon complete ownership of their carrier, but AT&T will be making their move into Europe. Unlike the carrier mergers and buyouts we saw late last year, this one is going to affect more than just one carrier and more than just the US. We’ve already seen Softbank get a 70% stake in Sprint, and Metro PCS and T-Mobile are getting ready to merge later this year. I guess it’s AT&T and Verizon’s turn now?