Verizon denies Vodafone buyout

The company contradicts an earlier report by the Financial Times that it planned to team with AT&T to acquire the world's second-largest carrier.

Contradicting a report from earlier today, Verizon said it has no plans to acquire Vodafone, either on its own or with a bidding partner.

Citing "usually reliable people," the Financial Times had reported that Verizon was teaming with AT&T to buy Vodafone, in a deal worth $245 billion.

Under the deal, the FT reported, Verizon would acquire the 45 percent stake Vodafone currently owns in its U.S. operations. The remainder of Vodafone's business outside the U.S. would go to AT&T.

But in a regulatory filing made today in response to media reports, and published by various news sites, Verizon declared: "As Verizon has said many times, it would be a willing purchaser of the 45 percent stake that Vodafone holds in Verizon Wireless. It does not, however, currently have any intention to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others."

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Vodafone's shares had jumped nearly 6 percent on speculation about a buyout, but they fell back 3.4 percent after Verizon's denial.

Vodafone is the world's second-largest carrier behind China Mobile with 403 million customers. The company operates in a slew of countries around the world and has a strong presence in Europe.

There have been rumblings that Verizon is maneuvering to end its relationship with Vodafone. Reports last month suggested Vodafone and Verizon were considering a wide range of options , including merging their two operations or simply going their separate ways. Those talks, however, hadn't yet progressed to substantial negotiation, according to those reports.

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao prompted a bit more speculation in February when he answered "I don't know" regarding the possibility of Vodafone's stake in Verizon to shift in a year's time. He added that his company was willing to keep an open mind "on everything."

 

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