Report: AT&T exploring Vodafone takeover as soon as next year

|About: AT&T Inc. (T)|By:, SA News Editor

AT&T (T +0.2%) has stepped up work on a strategy for what would be a complex and expensive deal, says Bloomberg, in part trying to identify which assets it would retain and who would be buyers of the businesses to be spun off.

The combined AT&T and Vodafone (VOD +2.3%) would have a market cap in excess of $250B, huge operations here and across the pond, and more than 500M wireless subscribers, giving it the scale to challenge Google and Apple when negotiating cell phone subsidies, and squeezing out profits from rising technologies like mobile advertising.

Any deal, of course, would have to wait until Vodafone closes the sale of its Verizon Wireless stake, expected to occur early next year.