Verizon CEO on Vodafone: We Would Try To Do Anything (VZ)

Jan.30.06 | About: Verizon Communications (VZ)

Here's the full text of Verizon CEO's Ivan Seidenberg views on rumblings that Vodafone plans to sell its stake in the company as expressed in a conference call with analysts last week:

First of all, we’ve had no direct indication from Vodafone that they’ve changed their position. So, we’re as anxious as anyone else is to see how the, the conversation that started the other day materializes. To the extent, however, that there is a change of a view coming from Vodafone, we clearly would be interested in increasing ownership of Verizon Wireless, whether in stages or actually acquiring 100% of it.

I would add that we also recognize that the put option is not the preferred vehicle for Vodafone to facilitate any transaction. That was exactly the issue we had when they were considering the purchase of AWE. So, we are very open and willing to consider negotiation around that to make sure that it’s efficient for both sides and it’s, we can maximize value for both parties. You know, when you think about it, Verizon Wireless has gone through an extraordinary run here. It’s created a lot of value for both sides. And that I think that it’s a good time to think about this and so we would stand ready to work on that.

One other point that, that I would make is that, as we think about this, just so that Verizon shareholders would understand how we think about this, Doreen [Toben, CFO] and I have, have talked about this, and our view is to the extent possible, we would try to do anything here if it was, if it was given to us by Vodafone, with as much cash as possible. And so, for example, like everybody understands, the Omnitel ownership, perhaps the, the divestiture of VIS would all be, be part of how we would think about funding the whole operation. So, I think we need to give Vodafone some room to think through what they want to do. But our position has been what it’s always been. If the opportunity came to be, we would be, we would stand ready to work with them.

Full conference call transcript here.