From the Daily Mail:
. . . the buzz in dealing rooms was that an even bigger takeover deal will soon set the market alight and launch the fabulous Footsie to a record above the magic 7,000 in the final quarter.
Vodafone put on 1.45p to 202.6p amid red hot speculation that advisers of AT&T are now working around the clock on a cash bid worth more than £3 a share for the UK mobile phone giant, which is currently capitalised at around £53billion.
After intense speculation in January, the second largest US mobile operator was forced to say that it didn’t plan to make a bid for Vodafone. That meant it could not offer to buy Vodafone or a stake of 30 per cent or more in the company for six months. AT&T has been allowed to make a move since late July and the weak performance of the Vodafone share price has persuaded the board to set the wheels in motion. AT&T has been looking in Europe for growth as its home market becomes more competitive. An acquisition of Vodafone would mean AT&T taking over Europe’s biggest wireless carrier and creating the world’s largest telecommunications operator by sales.
With more than 500million wireless subscribers worldwide, the combined company would be able to challenge Google and Apple when negotiating handset subsidies and wringing profit out of growing technologies such as mobile advertising. It would give AT&T access to markets including the UK and Germany, with Vodafone continuing to add wireless and broadband assets in Europe.
Check the 13F
I've been thinking for a while that the best tax structure for a T/VOD deal would be an inverse merger with the resulting company incorporated somewhere like Ireland. Almost any other company could probably pull it off but it might be too audacious for an American icon like AT&T to try.
Hey Smalls, nice comment on that Motley Fool article . . . unfortunately I think we might have to wait until May when VOD announces earnings and provides new forward guidance for the market to realize the undervaluation going on here
You didn't read to the end of the story:
"An alternative scenario is being floated in the City, in which Vodafone is a potential target. Marsch said: "Out of all the big incumbent operators in Europe, Vodafone is the only one you can realistically think could be acquired. Germany is not going to allow Deutsche Telecom to be bought. Spain will not allow Telefonica to be acquired. It seems a fairly obvious bit of consolidation if [the US giant] AT&T decides it is getting serious about Europe, or [Japan's] Softbank gets knocked back in the US [where it is attempting to expand]." "
I don't think so. The Vodafone/Kabel Deutschland deal was approved by the EU in one month without conditions and this transaction is not significantly different.
From Fierce Wireless:
Vodafone has reportedly reached a verbal agreement with the owners of Ono to buy the Spanish broadband provider for #$%$7.2 billion ($9.9 billion) including around #$%$3.4 billion in debt, even though Ono shareholders approved plans on Thursday to carry out an initial public listing.
Spanish financial newspaper Expansion reported on Friday that Vodafone's new offer for Ono was approved late on Thursday. Ono declined to comment on the report and Vodafone said it does not comment on media speculation.
It was reported earlier this week that Vodafone had reached a preliminary agreement to buy Ono, but that Ono's management board was still moving ahead with plans to list the company until Vodafone made a firm offer.
Expansion said the contracts of sale are currently being drafted and will be signed in the coming few days. Such a deal would be subject to regulation, and it seems likely that a Vodafone-Ono tie-up would come under the scrutiny of European Union antitrust regulators.
The Spanish newspaper noted that Vodafone would gain access to 7 million households through the acquisition of Ono, but warned that the integration and management of three separate fixed networks--the Ono cable network, ADSL from Telefónica, and a new FTTH network being built in collaboration with Orange Spain--would present a considerable challenge to Vodafone.
A purchase of Ono would fit with Vodafone's strategy to increased its fixed assess across Europe to bolster its existing mobile activities through multi-play offers.
Ono is one of the few remaining independent cable assets in Europe after Vodafone bought Kabel Deutschland last year and Liberty Global acquired Virgin Media. Liberty Global recently secured Ziggo in a deal that valued the Dutch cable operator at #$%$10 billion including debt, and was also reportedly interested in buying Ono.
Vodafone said on Friday that the integration of Vodafone Germany and Kabel Deutschland would now begin from 1 April 2014.
The best source is the investor presentations on Vodafone's website. You have to do some math but the current earnings per share is about $3 per ADR. They will probably provide updated guidance when they announce earnings in May.
"AT&T’s comments may be intended to put pressure on European carriers to make a deal, said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics LLC in Dedham, Massachusetts.
“Yes, the window of opportunity is closing, but this is a potential bargaining chip to get people to the table,” Entner said. “You try to get them to understand that, ‘Either do this now, or it won’t happen.’”
AT&T signaled again Wednesday that it may lose interest in doing a wireless deal in Europe if it can't do one soon.
Chief Financial Officer John Stephens, speaking at an investor conference, said the window of opportunity for a deal is closing, echoing comments made late last week by Chief Executive Randall Stephenson.
AT&T has explored a bid for Vodafone Group PLC, people familiar with the matter have said. But it can't approach the carrier until the summer due to a regulatory technicality. The companies could hold talks sooner if they were initiated by Vodafone.
The AT&T executives both cited progress in Europe toward rolling out high speed networks, a shift AT&T had hoped to capitalize upon, and new competitive threats in AT&T's backyard, where Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable have agreed to merge in a deal that would create a giant new rival for the phone company's broadband and pay-television services.
Meanwhile, Vodafone has been pursuing cable companies in Europe, most recently studying a possible bid for Ono SA in Spain, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Mr. Stephens said AT&T still sees opportunity in Europe, but said it is important to note that things have changed.
"Vodafone Group plc Options were adjusted on February 24, 2014 (See OCC Information Memo #34189). The new deliverable became 1) 54 Vodafone Group plc (VOD) American Depositary Shares, 2) 26 Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Common Shares, 3) Cash in lieu of 0.5455 fractional Vodafone Group plc (VOD) Shares, less fees, if any, 4) Cash in lieu of 0.3001 fractional VZ shares, less fees, if any, and 5) $492.80 Cash.
. . .
Terms of the VOD1/2VOD1 options are as follows:
New Deliverable Per Contract:
1) 54 Vodafone Group plc (VOD) American Depositary Shares
2) 26 Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Common Shares
3) $529.16 Cash ($492.80 + $22.53 + $13.83)"
I honestly don't know what he was actually saying there.
1) He is signalling to Vodafone's board that he is not willing to wait six months in the penalty box if they won't agree to a friendly deal now.
2) He is starting to see Colao's vision towards fixed/mobile convergence.
3) He sees opportunities in Europe without actually buying assets. (?)
4) . . . ?
As you see these investments happening, you may kind of begin to think the window maybe closing on perhaps only wireless assets, but there are still other opportunities in Europe and the Global SIM, we’ve talked about it a lot, but we have been out in front on establishing and developing a Global SIM, that still gives us opportunities to take advantage of a European expansion of LTE and technology and I believe you will see around the world, automobile manufacturers, for example, picking a single carrier to deliver their capabilities around the globe by virtue of the Global SIM.
So we think there is still lots of opportunities in Europe, still pretty excited about Europe, but it’s finally beginning to take-off, the people are finally investing there.
From Seeking Alpha transcript at Morgan Stanley conference, Part 1:
Randall L. Stephenson
We’ve been pretty consistent over the last year and a half on our views of Europe and it’s real simple. The mobile Internet phenomenon that has transpired in the U.S., we know for fact, it’s going to be replicated around the world. And so, you will see it take-off, just like all other technologies, when we deploy them in the U.S., eventually they begin to move around the globe and mature and scale around the globe.
On the mobile Internet, it seemed very obvious to us that the next logical stopping point for it to take-off was Europe. And Europe way under invested for quite some period of time in terms of LTE and so forth. And we just really thought given the demographic profile of Europe, it will take-off in Europe.
And I was at Mobile World Congress a year ago in Spain and one year ago I was very impressed by being at the Mobile World Congress in Spain and you could not get one single LTE signal. And I was there last week and there are more than one carrier with LTE up in Barcelona now. And as you began to look around Europe, you are seeing that once somebody moves and begins to invest, others invest, you are seeing also a number of the carriers whose balance sheets have been a little stressed and it has been hindering them from doing much investment, a lot of them are getting their balance sheets shot-up, Vodafone’s is obviously very shot-up, right.
So Vodafone is investing now aggressively. You are seeing LTE deploy broadly in England. You are seeing it deployed in Germany now. And so what we had always believe was going to transpire is now transpiring. There is kind of an upside when you think about how would you like to enter Europe, there is the opportunity of, would you like to own assets.
From WSJ article about Comcast/Time Warner merger:
". . . Shut out of further significant acquisitions in the U.S., AT&T has been looking to Europe, where people familiar with the matter say it is eyeing Vodafone Group PLC.
It wasn’t clear how the new concerns about the U.S. market were affecting AT&T’s plans. But Mr. Stephenson said the “window may be closing” on acquiring wireless assets in Europe as carriers begin investing in upgrades to faster, 4G technology.
AT&T was interested in Europe because it figured it could get in early and capitalize on a shift to data usage and higher bills that has happened already in the U.S. But that process is already under way. Meanwhile AT&T, which told U.K. authorities last month it wasn’t planning a bid for Vodafone, can’t make an offer for several months unless invited by Vodafone’s board.
“What we had always believed was going to transpire is now transpiring,” Mr. Stephenson said."
Did you buy at $39 and make 2.5% in less than two weeks? Did you buy six months ago at $32? Did you buy a year ago at $24? Did you buy a long time ago and been collecting fat dividends for years? No matter what your timeframe everybody did well with this deal