AT&T executives are looking at a potential takeover of Vodafone Group Plc next year as part of a very complex deal. Vodafone is the largest mobile carrier in Europe. AT&T and Vodafone have not entered any formal negotiations. AT&T is hammering out the details on which Vodafone assets they would retain after a deal and who could buy the other assets. If the Vodafone deal falls through, AT&T is also interested in U.K. carrier EE as an alternative to expand aggressively into Europe.
An AT&T and Vodafone merger would create the world’s largest telecommunications operator baed on sales. In the past, AT&T approached Verizon Communications this year about a transaction where they would buy Vodafone’s European operations with Verizon taking over their wireless joint venture and American Movil SAB taking the rest, according to Bloomberg. Verizon rejected that deal. Verizon was also in the process of purchasing Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion.
AT&T and Vodafone combined would have a market capitalization exceeding $250 billion and over 500 million wireless subscribers worldwide. The transaction would have to wait on the closing of Vodafone’s sale of their Verizon Wireless stake.