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Vodafone Group plc (VOD)

  • Wed, Nov. 25, 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).
    | Wed, Nov. 25, 10:40 AM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Nov. 11, 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)
    | Wed, Nov. 11, 1:29 PM | 8 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 28, 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)
    | Wed, Oct. 28, 10:09 AM | Comment!
  • Tue, Oct. 13, 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.
    | Tue, Oct. 13, 9:14 AM | Comment!
  • Fri, Oct. 2, 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.
    | Fri, Oct. 2, 9:15 AM | Comment!
  • Wed, Sep. 30, 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.
    | Wed, Sep. 30, 2:07 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Sep. 28, 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)
    | Mon, Sep. 28, 9:39 AM | Comment!
  • Tue, Sep. 22, 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 offering involving up to 4,000 premises. It plans to hit the 10M-premise target with a combination of 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)
    | Tue, Sep. 22, 9:56 AM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, Sep. 18, 1:25 PM
    • Antitrust regulators in Europe are set to launch a wide probe into Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) £10.3B bid for O2, the UK mobile unit of Telefonica (TEF -4.1%) -- which likely means key concessions are coming, Reuters reports.
    • The plan to merge Hutchison's Three with O2 was a long time coming, and now it's facing what looks like a sterner regulatory regime whose stance helped kill a plan to merge the Danish operations of TeliaSonera and Telenor.
    • The EU's competition authority has an Oct. 16 deadline for preliminary review but is expected to follow with a full-blown investigation that should last five months.
    • Proper concessions are likely to be challenging, however: Three UK shares a 3G network with market leader EE (ORAN, OTCQX:DTEGY), while Telefonica shares some towers with Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) -- which has been vocal about ensuring competition as the UK market consolidates.
    | Fri, Sep. 18, 1:25 PM | Comment!
  • Tue, Sep. 15, 9:32 AM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 2.3% amid the newly tougher regulatory scheme that likely has put a kibosh on a merger with Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA).
    • A shift in approach to the hard line by European Commission competition chief Margrethe Vestager recently got TeliaSonera and Telenor to call off a merger of their Danish operators. And Liberty is offering up fresh concessions in an effort to seal its effort to buy KPN's Belgian operator Base.
    • John Malone is still looking for common ground with Vodafone over some kind of tie-up, he tells Bloomberg, as those talks seem to stall. Discussions about a full merger that initially moved stocks turned to talks over an asset swap in Europe, as Vodafone insists it's not talking about the full deal.
    • "Obviously there’s a price at which Liberty Global could be bought," Malone said. "I don’t believe that that’s likely for the other side to get there -- an outright purchase of the whole company. Other than that, it’s a question of could you figure out some way to live together."
    • Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao should "retire" now that the merger talks have fallen apart, says telecom analyst Neil Campling of Aviate Global. Asset swaps seem unlikely in key markets the UK and Germany, he says. “While we can find reasons to invest in Liberty Global on a standalone basis, the same cannot be said for Vodafone," he says. "What's next? Vittorio, surely, will retire and head for the sunshine/ski slope. He should.”
    • Meanwhile, Vodafone India has begun talks with IBM to renew a 660B-rupee ($1B) outsourcing contract that expires in June. Other vendors, including Wipro, Tata Consultancy, Infosys and Tech Mahindra, could push for the deal.
    | Tue, Sep. 15, 9:32 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Sep. 14, 9:18 AM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 1.8% premarket in U.S. trading after early-a.m. analyst action.
    • Shares are down 1.1% in London as Nomura cut its price target to 275 pence from its previous 290 pence, while maintaining a Buy rating. Shares are trading currently at 221.46p, implying more than 30% upside.
    • Meanwhile, Credit Suisse has reiterated its Outperform rating, with a target of 250 pence (12.9% upside from current trading).
    • Both those targets are slightly higher than consensus, which sits just over 239 pence.
    • Vodafone ADRs are down 7% over the past month.
    | Mon, Sep. 14, 9:18 AM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Sep. 1, 12:01 PM
    • Ahead of the vaunted launch of Netflix (NFLX -6.3%) service in Spain next month, Vodafone Spain (VOD -1.7%) has signed a deal to become the first pay TV provider to offer Netflix in the country.
    • Vodafone says it can deliver Netflix's app to subscribers without a set-top box update. Perhaps more important for subscribers, they'll have an integrated search engine for programming on Vodafone's service, and Netflix offerings will be part of the recommendations section.
    • Netflix has been stacking up deals with (smaller) pay TV providers, including Cogeco's Atlantic Broadband earlier this summer, Cable One, Mediacom, Suddenlink and Grande Communications.
    • Previously: Netflix sets October for delayed launch in Spain (Jun. 03 2015)
    • Previously: Netflix eyes tough market in Spain (Mar. 08 2015)
    | Tue, Sep. 1, 12:01 PM | 2 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 26, 3:36 PM
    • Turkey's once-postponed auction of 4G airwaves did better than expected, drawing €3.96B (about $4.5B) in bids from Turkey's three operators: Vodafone (VOD +2.5%), Turkcell (TKC +4.6%) and Avea (OTC:TRKNY).
    • The original tender had been postponed in May as president Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed for a cancellation, and for the country to skip a generation and try to upgrade infrastructure to 5G. But that technology isn't fully defined yet, and any commercial rollouts aren't likely before 2020.
    • The auction performed well in a market that features a young, data-hungry population, says analyst Jonathan Friedman: "Beyond recent political instability, Turkey is a large market with nearly 80 million consumers, and investors want to be a part of that."
    • The bids received today are subject to a final approval process before frequencies are allocated.
    | Wed, Aug. 26, 3:36 PM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, Aug. 21, 12:54 PM
    • Vodafone (VOD -2.8%) has pulled out of a six-company competition to take over Lebanon's two mobile operators.
    • The government's two mobile firms, Touch and Alfa, were being run by Zain and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, though the two companies' management contracts expired two years ago.
    • Vodafone's pulling out leaves five others competing: Zain, Orange (ORAN -0.2%), Maxis, Turkcell (TKC -1.9%) and a unit of Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), as OTMT didn't submit a bid application on time.
    | Fri, Aug. 21, 12:54 PM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Aug. 4, 7:41 PM
    • Telecom Italia (TI -1.3%) is looking to avoid up to €4B (about $4.4B) in antitrust charges via a reorganization of the unit that leases its wireline network to competitors -- including Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), which is seeking more than €1B in damages, Bloomberg reports.
    • The plan would be modeled after what BT Group has done in the UK with Openreach: folding its OpenAccess unit into its wholesale business.
    • The board is reportedly set to review the plan at a meeting on Thursday. TI has reportedly made provisions, including one-time items of €309M in Q2, to address antitrust concerns.
    • Telecom competitor Fastweb SpA --owned by Swisscom (OTCPK:SCMWY) -- is also pursuing remedies against TI, to the tune of €1.7B.
    • The proposal would have TI buying wholesale capacity from OpenAccess just as its rivals do, and the wholesale group would have total oversight over OpenAccess.
    | Tue, Aug. 4, 7:41 PM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Jul. 24, 9:20 PM
    • Following Vodafone's (VOD +2%) Q1 results, in its earnings call today (transcript), CEO Vittorio Colao elaborated on the company's discomfort with the power of a consolidated BT Group/EE combo in the UK as regulatory questions piled up.
    • Vodafone and industry peers have called for a breakup of BT Group -- UK regulator Ofcom is considering a split of Openreach -- and Colao said the right rules could prompt investment.
    • "So I think the regulators should have a serious look at the possibility of creating a true modern infrastructure company to serve the country. And Openreach could be that one. And, ideally, Vodafone could even be an investor in fiber like we are in other places, if it was a genuine thing."
    • Colao also complained about broadcasters like Sky paying heavy fees to get exclusive programming rights that are enforced with some close-together geographic borders in Europe, a subject that touches on the EU's antitrust action against major Hollywood studios.
    • "Minimum guarantees are my enemy and we need to convince regulators they are anticompetitive," Colao said. "But I think the behavior of content owners will be under a lot of scrutiny in coming years."
    • Previously: BT CEO threatens decade of litigation if forced to divest wholesale unit (Jul. 20 2015)
    | Fri, Jul. 24, 9:20 PM | Comment!
Company Description
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.