Saturday 24 March 2018

Vodafone shares slip 3.7pc after Verizon denies bid

Amy Thomson and Scott Moritz

VODAFONE shares fell as much as 3.7pc after Verizon said it isn't considering a bid for the telecoms giant.

That knocked speculation that it was in discussions with AT&T to make a joint offer for the UK carrier.

In a filing to the US stock markets, Verizon reiterated its interest in Vodafone's 45pc stake in their US wireless venture, but said it doesn't currently have any intention "to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others".

Vodafone rose as much as 6.1pc on Tuesday amid reports that AT&T and Verizon were considering a joint offer.

"We view Vodafone as a very reluctant seller," said Robin Bienenstock, a Sanford C Bernstein analyst. Verizon's statement makes it clear its interest in the Verizon Wireless stake was rebuffed, she wrote.

Verizon is now focused instead on gaining full control of Verizon Wireless, its most valuable asset. Verizon Wireless was formed in 1999 when Bell Atlantic, which became Verizon Communications, combined its mobile division with Vodafone's. The 45pc stake is worth about $115bn (€90bn).

In accordance with UK rules, Verizon said in the statement that it reserves the right to make an offer for Vodafone within six months of the announcement that it isn't interested provided it has the accord of Vodafone directors, a third party makes a bid, a so-called whitewash or reverse takeover proposal from Vodafone occurs, or a material change in circumstances occurs.

Irish Independent

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