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Vodafone Group plc (VOD)

  • May. 31, 2013, 10:11 AM
    Vodafone (VOD -1.1%) and China Mobile (CHL -2%) have abandoned plans to make a joint bid for a mobile license in Myanmar, arguing conditions are unfavorable. Both carriers have been on the lookout for emerging markets growth opportunities. Separately, CHL is getting ready to launch Jego, a mobile VoIP/messaging platform aimed at international users with Chinese friends/family, and planning to revive Fetion, a mobile/PC IM app. Both will face tough competition from Tencent's (TCEHY.PK) popular and traffic-hogging WeChat, as well as international platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber.
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  • May. 27, 2013, 5:27 AM
    EU telecom chief Neelie Kroes hopes to put together a package of reforms that will be approved before European Parliament elections in May next year. The plan is to foster a single market for the industry across the bloc, although Kroes is giving up on the idea of a single regulator following opposition from member states.
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  • May. 21, 2013, 2:31 PM
    Vodafone (VOD +0.3%) views its Verizon Wireless stake as a more attractive long-term asset than its slumping European ops, and is thus loath to sell it, argues Bernstein's Robin Bienenstock in the wake of the carrier's FQ4 report (included major Y/Y drops in Italian/Spanish revenue). Bienenstock, no stranger to throwing cold water on deal expectations, also thinks Vodafone's remarks about keeping its new $3.15B VZW distribution are a sign Verizon (VZ -1.3%) won't be issuing fresh distributions in the near-term; recent comments from Verizon's CFO also back this up.
  • May. 21, 2013, 4:34 AM
    Vodafone (VOD): FQ4 organic service revenue -4.2% (in line, but worst quarterly drop on record): -12.8% in Italy and -11.5% in Spain. Impairment charge of £1.8B in Italy, bringing total impairments for Spain and Italy to £7.7B for the full year during which sales were down 4.2%, to £44.4B and core earnings were off 3.1% to £13.3B. Adjusted operating profit beats, rising 9.3% to £12B. The company said it will keep its 45% share of Verizon's (VZ) dividend payment to shore up operations.
  • May. 20, 2013, 5:38 AM
    The deal may be far from done, but that hasn't stopped analysts from spending (in their heads anyway) the theoretical $100B+ cash hoard Vodaphone (VOD) would be sitting on in the event Verizon (VZ) buys out VOD's 45% Verizon Wireless stake. "What they should do is a dramatic rethink of the business," a Bernstein analyst tells Bloomberg. One possibility: acquisitions, such as Kabel Deutschland Holding and/or Liberty Global, KBC asset management says. Even if the company returned half of the cash from a potential deal to shareholders, it would still be left with $62B, including what it currently has on its books.
  • May. 18, 2013, 6:23 PM
    32% of Q1 U.S. smartphone sales involved prepaid phones, up from 21% a year ago, says NPD. That trend could spell trouble for AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ, VOD), whose recent growth has been heavily tied to selling costly postpaid data plans. With 72% and 61% of the carriers' postpaid bases now respectively on smartphones, they face pressure to gain prepaid buyers without cannibalizing postpaid subs. Cannibalization fears have led AT&T and Verizon to make their prepaid plans 3G-only; Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS) offer 4G. A mix shift towards unsubsidized prepaid phones could also be a challenge for Apple (AAPL), estimated to have just 8% of the Q1 U.S. prepaid smartphone market (though that's up 4x Y/Y).
  • May. 14, 2013, 6:07 PM
    Verizon Wireless distributions will be "more lean" going forward than they have been thus far as the carrier pays down debt and bids in upcoming spectrum auctions, says Verizon (VZ) CFO Frank Shammo in the wake of a $7B payout. The comments suggest Verizon might still use the distributions as a bargaining chip (previous) to get Vodafone (VOD) to sell its stake. Shammo also states 1/3 of Big Red's postpaid subs are now on its costly shared data plans; that's up from 13% last November. (earlier)
  • May. 14, 2013, 2:24 PM
    Verizon's (VZ +0.8%) decision to let Verizon Wireless make a $7B distribution, rather than play hardball with Vodafone (VOD +0.3%), "smacks of stalemate" in Verizon's efforts to buy Vodafone's 45% stake, writes Bernstein's Robin Bienenstock. "In effect, Verizon is betting that Vodafone will be under more pressure to sell at a lower price next year because of Vodafone's own poor operational trends." Past reports suggest the gap between Verizon's initial bid and Vodafone's initial asking price could be $30B.  (previous)
  • May. 13, 2013, 4:53 PM
    Verizon Wireless is making a fresh $7B cash distribution to owners Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD) - Verizon will get $3.85B, and Vodafone $3.15B. A $10B distribution was made in 2011, and an $8.5B distribution last November. CEO Lowell McAdam appeared to be hinting earlier this month Vodafone might not get a distribution this year, as Verizon Wireless focuses on paying down debt. VOD +0.5% AH. VZ +0.3%.
  • May. 10, 2013, 11:49 AM
    AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ, VOD) might finally realize their dream of charging consumers and content providers for mobile data traffic: a WSJ report states ESPN has held talks with "at least one major carrier" about subsidizing access to its content, perhaps by guaranteeing it doesn't count towards monthly caps. If such deals ever became widespread, media providers such as YouTube, Netflix, and Pandora would probably be the biggest payers. But ESPN isn't yet sure of the economics, and (though net neutrality rules only apply to wireline) there could be a regulatory backlash.
  • May. 10, 2013, 12:52 AM
    "Our thesis is that AAPL has a terrific operating platform, engendering a loyal, sticky and growing customer base that will make repeated purchases ... Unfortunately, there have been a series of disappointments," writes David Einhorn in Greenlight Capital's Q1 letter, defending his bullishness on Apple (AAPL) after a 17% Q1 drop. He also defends his lightning-rod efforts to get Apple to remove Prop. 2 and change its capital structure. Vodafone (VOD - 21% Q1 gain) is another name Einhorn remains bullish on, believing "substantial value" could still be unlocked if a Verizon Wireless deal happens, and speculating AT&T might buy what's left of the carrier. (previous)
  • May. 8, 2013, 11:38 AM
    The 5% yield barrier on junk bonds (HYG, JNK) is broken for the first time ever, the Barclays U.S. High Yield Index sliding to 4.97% (prior to Jan., the yield had never fallen below 6%). Spreads to Treasurys remain at a not-unreasonable 406 bps, far wider than the record-tight 223 points reached just as the gates of financial heck were about to open in 2007. In the meantime, the equity of highly non-wobbly companies like RDS.A, VOD, and GSK yields in the area of 5%. "We don't want to question the market," writes the FT's David Keohane, "but: what the (heck)?"
  • May. 7, 2013, 11:53 AM
    Vodafone (VOD) is unlikely to settle a $2.6B tax dispute with the Indian government for "at least another year," the FT reports. India's finance minister had stated in January he expected a deal by April. The tax dispute is just one of several issues where Vodafone and the government are at odds. Meanwhile, Spain's telecom regulator is thinking of fining Vodafone a relatively modest $2.6M for not adhering to EU roaming tariff rules.
  • May. 6, 2013, 12:58 PM
    Some big Verizon (VZ -0.8%) shareholders seem comfortable with the carrier paying $120B-$130B to acquire Vodafone's (VOD -0.4%) 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. "No way do I dream that $100 billion is going to get this deal done," says Craig Leopold, whose firm (Columbia Management) owns 22M Verizon shares. He estimates even a $130B deal would lift Verizon's 2014 EPS by 15%. One big challenge: Verizon already has $52.9B in debt on its balance sheet, offset by just $9.5B in cash/investments. Even a 50/50 cash-stock deal for the stake would lead total debt to soar above $100B. (previous)
  • May. 2, 2013, 9:59 PM
    Vodafone (VOD) might not be getting a Verizon Wireless cash distribution this year, Verizon (VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam hints in comments seen as an effort to further pressure Vodafone into selling its Verizon Wireless stake. At a meeting hosted by JPMorgan analyst Philip Cusick, McAdam said the top priority for Verizon Wireless' considerable cash flow will be to pay down $5B in debt due by mid-2014, rather than fresh distributions. Verizon Wireless has paid out $18.5B in two distributions over the last two years, $8.3B of which has gone to Vodafone. (previous)
  • Apr. 29, 2013, 6:01 AM
    Vodafone (VOD) is "sitting with a rather ugly set of assets once you lose the Verizon Wireless stake," a UK fund manager tells Reuters, explaining why six big VOD stockholders who control ~1.3B shares between them would likely prefer a merger with Verizon (VZ) rather than sell the stake for what they consider to be a paltry $100B. These and other shareholders are ultimately concerned that VOD's "exposure to troubled European markets" will take center stage once the Verizon stake is gone.
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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.