AT&T to Bid for Vodafone?
If you think regulatory scrutiny of AT&T’s effort to buy T-Mobile US was contentious, just wait until AT&T tries to buy either Vodafone Group or EE in the United Kingdom, a move that reports suggest is under active consideration at AT&T.
AT&T reportedly also considered a purchase of Telefonica, but Spanish regulators quickly moved to signal disapproval.
In recent days Mexico’s America Movil encountered opposition by an independent KPN shareholder group to its bid to buy the remainder of KPN it did not already own.
Both America Movil and partner AT&T were rebuffed in 2007 in an effort to buy Telecom Italia, as well.
Opposition could arise from national regulators, company poison pill defenses or independent foundations set up to ward off unwanted takeovers.
Combined, Vodafone and AT&T would be the largest telecom firm on the planet, with a market capitalization exceeding $250 billion and large-scale operations in the U.S. and across Europe.
That level of scale might be important to the firm as it explores new lines of business where scale is important, ranging from advertising to video entertainment, and probably also would help the carrier when negotiating with handset suppliers and other suppliers of infrastructure.
Though AT&T might wind up not making a bid, it could not move before the closing of the Vodafone sale of its Verizon Wireless stake, expected in early 2014.