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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
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.
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.
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. 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).
Nov. 11, 2015, 1:29 PM
- Speaking at Morgan Stanley's investor conference in Barcelona, Vodafone (VOD +1.7%) chief Vittoriao Colao says the company has decided to keep its emerging markets unit together after considering a wholesale spinoff/breakup.
- A spinoff of its farther-flung assets, including interests in India, Africa, New Zealand, Qatar, and Turkey, was more likely during talks this year with Liberty Global over swapping assets. As those talks broke down, though, Colao said the board decided existing synergies justified keeping the group together.
- "We're open-minded," Colao says. "If one day there is a better option we will look at it."
- Vodafone India is progressing toward a separate listing that would include its stake in Indus Towers, though (as with the rest of the industry) the towers interest is ripe for a potential separate spinoff.
- Previously: With Liberty Global deal off, Vodafone returns to big-market growth focus (Oct. 07 2015)
Oct. 28, 2015, 10:09 AM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) is up 3.5% in U.S. trading following the UK's provisional clearance of its £12.5B merger with mobile market leader EE.
- The telecom giant had made its case to regulators for the takeover in early May. Opponents, particularly Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), have been vocal about the combination of the UK's biggest fixed-line telecom with its biggest mobile operator.
- And despite a harder-line stance by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager -- whose opposition led to TeliaSonera and Telenor calling off a Danish merger -- the EU's digital economy commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, thinks consolidation will continue to run: "I believe the consolidation process will continue - we have rather too many than too few companies in Europe."
- As for Vestager's approach: "She sets a lot of store by variety of offerings, by competition, that's the one important factor. The other is that we need competitive companies who are big enough in the global competitive context."
- Also up today: EE owners Orange (ORAN +0.5%) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY +1%).
- Previously: TeliaSonera, Telenor call off Danish merger as regulators balk (Sep. 11 2015)
Oct. 13, 2015, 9:14 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 2% premarket despite Deutsche Bank reiterating its Buy rating.
- The firm set a 270-pence price target. In London, shares have fallen 1.2% to 208.23p, implying a near-30% upside.
- Berenberg Bank reiterated its Buy rating as well, with 264p target.
- Vodafone ADRs have gained 4.7% over the past 12 months but are off 11.4% in the past three months.
- The company is expecting to release its half-year earnings report Nov. 10.
Oct. 2, 2015, 9:15 AM
- Orange (NYSE:ORAN), down 2.3% premarket, is in the end stages of talks to sell a 70% stake in Orange Kenya, the country's Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says.
- The deal's coming "very soon," he says, likely before year-end. Orange had paid $390M for the stake in 2007.
- Abandoning Kenya would mean another operator getting out and leaving the country to Safaricom, part owned by Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), which has taken advantage of its development of the M-Pesa mobile payment system.
Sep. 30, 2015, 2:07 PM
- Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VOD +2.1%) has signed deals for more than a billion Australian dollars ($700M) to migrate mobile customers of TPG Telecom (OTC:TPGTF) to its network, from previous host Optus.
- The changeover -- "one of the industry's largest ever mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) arrangements" -- means faster 4G access for TPG customers.
- The deal also has TPG supplying dark fiber and network services to 3,000 Vodafone sites, generating A$900M in revenue against a spend of A$300M-A$400M over the next few years on the project.
Sep. 28, 2015, 9:39 AM
- Vodafone (VOD -3.1%) and Liberty Global (LBTYA -3.7%) were among early premarket sliders in telecom today after the two broke off discussions over swapping European assets.
- The cost of insuring Vodafone's debt dropped the most in nearly four months, and bonds of Liberty Global's units fell to their own records. Virgin Media (a likely Vodafone target) saw its January 2025 bonds slip to 92.8c/euro, lowest since issuance, while Germany's Unitymedia bonds fell 5.1 cents to a record low 84.4 cents.
- Barclays reiterated its Overweight rating on the shares with a 250-pence price target. Shares are down 3.7% in London to 209.7p, implying a 19% upside in Barclays' target.
- Previously: Vodafone ends talks with Liberty Global over asset swaps (Sep. 28 2015)
Sep. 22, 2015, 9:56 AM
- Speaking at a company conference (and playing defense after a new attack from rivals), BT Group (BT -2.1%) chief Gavin Patterson said the company's ultra-fast broadband service (300-500 Mbps) would be delivered to 10M premises by 2020.
- "We want to forge an ultra-fast future for Britain and stand ready to help government deliver the broadband speeds necessary for every property to enjoy modern-day Internet services, such as high definition TV streaming and cloud computing," Patterson says. "To achieve this, we need a collaborative effort across industry and government."
- The statement comes after a fresh offensive from competitors led by Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) over splitting the wholesale Openreach business from BT.
- BT has opened a trial of its G.fast offering involving up to 4,000 premises. It plans to hit the 10M-premise target with a combination of G.fast and fiber to the premises.
- A hint of 1-Gbps service suggests the company may also bring fiber-on-demand back from the dead.
- Previously: Vodafone, rivals renew call for BT Openreach split (Sep. 21 2015)
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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