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Fri, Feb. 5, 7:53 PM
- Telstra (OTCPK:TLSYY -1.8%) and Optus Mobile were the big spenders in Australia's competitive 1800-MHz spectrum auction, which drew A$543.5M in spending from the country's big four providers.
- Optus led all comers with A$196M, just ahead of Telstra at A$191M. TPG (OTC:TPGTF) spent A$88M, and Vodafone (VOD -2.4%) the least at A$68M.
- The auction was set to improve 4G coverage in regional and remote Australia; currently, Telstra, Vodafone and Optus use the 1800-MHz band to deliver their 4G networks in metropolitan areas.
- Vodafone, which skipped the digital dividend auction in May 2013, has been looking at regional expansion after refarming spectrum in Australian Capital Territory, the coast of New South Wales and the Blue Mountains, and switching on 850 MHz 4G in sites across Queensland.
Fri, Feb. 5, 7:40 PM
- Vodafone (VOD -2.4%) finished lower for the second straight day after earnings, swept up in market downdrafts despite a chorus of analysts signaling approval for the company's recovering European business.
- The FTSE 100 finished 0.9% lower in London and a tech-stock downdraft sent the Nasdaq down 3.3%.
- Meanwhile, a wide number of firms reiterated buys on the stock. Barclays and JPMorgan Chase reiterate their Overweight ratings, while Buys were also reinforced at HSBC and Beaufort Securities.
- Nomura raised its price target to 255 pence/share. Among the other firms' price targets, they range from Barclays' 250-pence price through RBC's 255 pence, HSBC's 260 pence and JPMorgan's 275 pence.
- Shares closed in London today down 1.6% at 207 pence, implying 21-33% upside in the various targets.
Thu, Feb. 4, 10:40 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 2.5% in U.S. trading following a fiscal third quarter showing continuing growth in underlying revenue, feeding the company's story that Europe (its biggest regional business) is back on track.
- Underlying service revenue grew 1.4% and the company is tracking toward in-line full-year earnings of £11.7B-£12B. Decline in underlying revenue in Europe slowed again, to 0.6% from Q2's decline of 1%.
- Emerging markets saw underlying revenue growth of 6.5%. "We have taken another step forward in the last three months, with the highlights being a strong performance in South Africa and improving trends in Germany and Italy," says CEO Vittorio Colao.
- Its "Project Spring" worldwide upgrade plan is 92% through its mobile buildout, with 4G coverage now at 84% in Europe. The company has committed £19B to the plan.
- Press release
Thu, Feb. 4, 8:36 AM
Thu, Feb. 4, 4:01 AM
- Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) reported its first annual loss since 2008 as it wrote off billions of dollars in goodwill, set aside litigation provisions and suffered a trading downturn.
- Statoil (NYSE:STO) slashed its capital spending budget but said it would keep its dividend steady after topping fourth quarter expectations.
- Driven by a robust performance in its retail and wholesale divisions, ING posted a better-than-expected Q4 and announced a full-year dividend of €0.65 per share.
- AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) expects low to mid-single digit percentage drops in earnings this year, in part due to a flood of generic cholesterol drugs.
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) met expectations with a 1.4% rise in revenue during FQ3, its sixth consecutive quarter of growth, as a recovery in Europe gained pace.
Tue, Feb. 2, 9:49 AM
- Vodafone (VOD -2%) and Liberty Global (LBTYA -0.5%) are back and talking about possible asset swaps again, after talks about trades in Europe (and maybe a merger?) fell apart last year, Bloomberg reports.
- Sources said the talks restarted since the beginning of 2016 and could include asset swaps and co-investments in "several" European countries.
- Again, though, talks are likely to center on the Netherlands (where Liberty wants to grow) and the UK and Germany, the largest markets for the two.
- After gaining earlier in London, shares are down 1.6% there and ADRs are off 2% on a day where the broader U.S. market is off to a rough start.
Mon, Feb. 1, 12:21 PM
- Vodafone (VOD +1%) is testing free roaming in New Zealand, and partnering with Qantas on a deal for its passengers.
- Vodafone usually charges A$5/day for customers to roam in New Zealand but is dropping the fees in a yearlong pilot project.
- The company will consider spreading free roaming to other countries this year as well -- which could be a significant development as Vodafone has the second-most used mobile network globally.
- Meanwhile, Vodafone will offer 15,000 Qantas frequent flyer points to its customers when they connect, renew or upgrade their Qantas Red plans, and offer duty-free prepaid phones and SIMs on some international flights flying into Australia.
Fri, Jan. 29, 1:52 AM
- Today is when longtime UK incumbent telecom BT Group (NYSE:BT) completes its acquisition of EE, the country's largest mobile network, creating a beast that has competitors (particularly mobile-only Vodafone) concerned about market power.
- That leaves Openreach, the company's fixed-line infrastructure arm, as the hot topic. For months, investors, competitors and politicians have debated whether BT should be forced to spin the company off.
- At stake is the effect on competition and investment when competitors rely on BT's network as wholesale customers. Rivals say BT's ownership of the network is hurting investment in higher speeds; BT argues the opposite.
- Analysts now are leaning toward an outcome where BT can keep Openreach, but on Monday, UK politicians urged the company to sell it off.
- BT chief Gavin Patterson has been forceful on the issue, saying there's no case for splitting it off and warning of a "decade of litigation" if forced to act.
- Next steps: The UK's Ofcom regulator reports back on a review of Openreach next month.
- BT's rivals: VOD, LBTYA, OTC:TKTCY, OTCQX:SKYAY
Tue, Jan. 26, 11:35 AM
- Vodafone (VOD +1.5%) is outpacing broader market gains after a round of generally bullish analyst reports, including an upgrade from Jefferies Group to Buy.
- Jefferies bumped its price target to 250 pence, from 230; implying 14.3% upside from current London prices of 218.80p. Shares are up 0.1% in London.
- Barclays also reiterated its Overweight rating (also with a 250-pence price target), and Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating (with a lower 230-pence price target).
- Meanwhile, Grupo Santander reiterated its Hold rating and a 240-pence target.
Wed, Jan. 20, 8:21 PM
- Vodafone (VOD -2.1%) looks to be moving ahead with a public offering of its India wireless business -- a deal that could be a gateway to asset spinoffs or even more merger talk.
- Heavy chatter about a merger with Liberty Global (LBTYA -1.5%) covered much of last year, though it pivoted to more modest talk of asset swaps in Europe before even those discussions were called off. A New Year's Eve report posited that merger talks were back on.
- AT&T (T -1.7%) is said to be a prospective merger partner too, now that its acquisition of DirecTV is settled.
- Vodafone still has a tax issue to sort out with India, and it could use a March spectrum auction to fill out local markets for 4G service. And then: "Statements made by Group CEO Vittorio Colao make us believe a listing in 2016 is not only possible ... but probable — especially as we expect outstanding tax cases to finally get resolved and missing 4G spectrum gaps filled," says Bernstein's Chris Lane.
Tue, Jan. 12, 6:38 PM
- Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) has agreed to pay €2.4B (about $2.61B) for Spanish soccer broadcast rights -- an important catch-up to rivals Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and Orange (NYSE:ORAN), which already show the games.
- The company is paying for rights to Spanish first division and two other tournaments for three years starting with the upcoming season, and it will also show the European Champions and UEFA leagues on its Movistar brand.
- BeIN Sports will join Telefonica's pay TV service based on a partnership with Mediaproduccion SLU, which is selling the rights. Telefonica now controls about 85% of Spain's pay TV market.
- Elsewhere, Telefonica got a €14.00 price target from JPMorgan. Shares closed up 0.2% to €9.49 in Madrid, implying 48% upside in the target. JPMorgan rates the stock a Buy.
- Shares are -0.3% after hours in U.S. trading.
Dec. 31, 2015, 9:57 AM
- With Australia ringing in the New Year, telecoms took steps to prepare for a heavy increase in overnight traffic, including huge numbers around fireworks hot spots.
- Vodafone Australia (NASDAQ:VOD) and Telstra (OTCPK:TLSYY) both forecast heavy jumps in texts, calls and data usage and planned to deal with the surge with a multi-pronged approach including portable cells as well as apps and Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Vodafone planned heavy use of "cells on wheels" as it foresaw texts more than doubling during the festivities, to about 3.2M/hour in the overnight period.
- Telstra expected 11.5M texts to cross its network between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., and a total of 900M GB of data to be downloaded, twice as much as a year ago, along with 57M texts and 39M calls.
- It's pushed customers to use a New Year's Eve app that preloads a few dozen texts that it would automatically send at midnight for free. It also won exclusive rights to stream fireworks shows through that app as well as its website and YouTube channel.
Dec. 31, 2015, 9:41 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is up 1.5% in early going, and Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) up 2.8%, after the Daily Mail covered chatter about a large tie-up to come early in the new year.
- "Apparently corporate financiers have been working long hours over the festive period" on a potential £140B merger between the two, Geoff Foster writes -- though a much discussed asset swap is still more likely, and all talks fizzled out a few months back.
- Dealers are saying that Liberty's John Malone is pursuing new talks and the companies are getting favorable nods from major investors for a friendly deal, Foster says.
- Previous deal coverage
Dec. 21, 2015, 3:23 PM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has turned on its first cell tower that's part of Australia's mobile blackspot program, designed to add and improve coverage in regional and remote areas of the country.
- The firm activated a tower bringing coverage to White Rock Wind Farm in the New England region of New South Wales, the first of a planned 28 total sites with new and upgraded coverage in the region.
- The company is adding or upgrading 70 base stations across the country as part of the blackspot program.
- Australia had previously pledged A$100M to address coverage issues in the regions, which are targeted along transport routes, regional cities and places prone to natural disasters.
Dec. 16, 2015, 9:24 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is up 2.4% premarket in U.S. trading after Deutsche Bank reiterated its Buy rating on the stock.
- Shares are up 2.2% in London. In the past week, other firms have set bullish price targets for the stock; Morgan Stanley (which has a Buy rating) holds a price target of 270 pence -- which implies 26% upside from current price of 214.20 pence.
- Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs (which holds a Neutral rating) has a price target of 240 pence (about 12% upside).
- Vodafone this morning said its Netherlands unit would partner with IBM on a mobile push for business clients, using IBM MobileFirst solutions to improve infrastructure, apps and services for enterprise customers.
Nov. 25, 2015, 10:40 AM
- Vodafone (VOD +2%) has decided to pull a bond offering rather than give in to investor demands over risk protection.
- The carrier planned an investment-grade deal of up to $2B, but balked as investors pressed for a change-of-control provision and wouldn't accept coupon step-ups that would come with credit agency downgrades.
- The change-of-control provision (forcing issuers to redeem bonds in case of takeover/merger) would have set an unwanted precedent at Vodafone, bankers suggested, and the carrier didn't want to do that or compensate with a wider spread.
- A similar risk-protection issue sunk a deal backing Carlyle Group's leveraged buyout of Veritas last week, as investors have grown demanding over bond terms following some high-profile change-of-control failures (as in Cablevision bondholders left dry when junk-rated Altice came in to buy the company).
Vodafone Group PLC is engaged in providing voice and data communications services for all types of customers. The Company has presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific region and the United States.
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