Vodafone CEO open to building conglomerate, has big M&A budget

|About: Vodafone Group Plc (VOD)|By:, SA News Editor

"If other opportunities arise to create a bigger—I would say the Unilever of telecom—a big company that has fixed mobile and possibly entertainment and enterprise services, then of course we'll go after them," says Vodafone (VOD) CEO Vittorio Colao during a CNBC talk. He adds Vodafone "might be looking at a number of places in emerging markets and in mature markets and consolidation opportunities."

During a separate talk, Colao says Vodafone, flush with Verizon Wireless cash, might have $30B-$40B to spend on M&A in the coming years, assuming it maintains its 2:1 debt/EBITDA target ratio.

The remarks come as a fresh report emerges of Vodafone's interest in Spanish cable provider ONO (previous). Colao suggests Vodafone, which bought German cable provider Kabel Deutschland last year, is keen on building its wireline footprint in Europe, and on expanding its mobile reach in emerging markets.

Discussing India, Vodafone's biggest emerging market, Colao points out the country's relatively poor wireline infrastructure spells a larger opportunity for mobile data services.