For some time now, we've been hearing whispers that AT&T were looking to enter the European market, through the backdoor method of buying up an industry stalwart in the region. It seemed that the UK firm Vodafone would be AT&T's target, with a rumored $82 Billion bid for the company being put forward. Regardless of whether or not the American giant had any intention of going through with such a deal, AT&T wouldn't be able to anyway, thanks to a somewhat obscure UK ruling. It's a little difficult to explain, and we're not law professors so, bear with us.
In the UK, companies have to announce their intent – in writing – to buy a company and take it over. As per the UK Takeover Panel's code of conduct. AT&T has now released a statement with their true intentions, which is not to bid for the UK company. As per Rule 2.8 – specifically Note 2 – AT&T can in fact make a bid for the company in the next 6 months, however there are caveats. Such a bid can only be considered by the UK authorities if the structure of the deal changes or someone else makes a bid for the company. Those interested – and those with a little more time on their hands – can take a look at the code here.
So, it would seem that the excitement surrounding an US wireless invasion into Europe can now calm down after this. The chances of AT&T managing to come up with the $82 Billion to buy out a company like Vodafone are unlikely in the first place. Besides, if AT&T were looking to buy into Europe, specifically the UK, they would be acutely aware of such a ruling. Still, Vodafone would still be a good target for AT&T as it's not just the UK the firm has a stronghold, but in other parts of Europe, such as Spain, Portugal and more. There are rumors of the company eyeing up UK provider EE as well, but we'll not go too far down that rabbit hole.