According to a new report, AT&T has begun speaking with European regulators about a potential £60bn (approx. $99 billion USD) takeover of Vodafone.
Insiders speaking with Sky News report that AT&T chairman and chief executive Randall Stephenson spoke with EU Telecoms Commissioner Neelie Kroes during the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. According to the insiders, Stephenson spoke of his company’s interest in entering the European market and enquired as to how receptive the Commission would be to a takeover bid for a carrier such as Vodafone.
According to sources, AT&T has already begun speaking with banks about possible financing for the deal, but that the U.S. carrier is holding back on making a formal approach until Vodafone completes its withdrawal from its partial ownership of Verizon. That deal is expected to be completed on Feb. 21, and shares of Vodafone that do not include Verizon in the mix will begin trading on Feb. 24.
While no formal negotiations or offers have begun as of yet, it does sound as though AT&T is interested in making a play for the European markets. Should this deal come to fruition, it would create a global carrier worth around $247.5 billion and would give Big Blue an instant foothold in the lucrative European markets.
Some rumors have also pointed to AT&T considering a bid for EE should a Vodafone deal not be possible. From the sounds of it, one way or another AT&T wants in on the European marketplace and will do whatever it needs to to make that happen.
At this stage all of this is talk, but it sounds like 2014 could be an interesting year for the cellular marketplace on a global scale.