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Vodafone Group plc (VOD)

  • Sep. 2, 2013, 1:22 PM
    • Verizon Communications' (VZ) $130B purchase of Vodafone's (VOD) stake in Verizon Wireless is official.
    • VOD will get $58.9B in cash, $60.2B in VZ stock (which will go to VOD shareholders), and $11B from other transactions.
    • The deal will be immediately accretive to the tune of 10% for VZ. (PR)
    • VOD will return $23.9B of the cash to shareholders and the company says it will "increase the total FY14 dividend per share by 8%." (PR)
    • Moody's cut Verizon's long-term debt rating by one notch to Baa1 following the announcement.
  • Sep. 2, 2013, 3:05 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD) says it is in "advanced discussions" to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications (VZ) for $130B in cash and shares.
    • The company will make a further announcement "as soon as practicable," which reports say could be today.
    • The sides were working late into the night to iron out the final details, sources say, including the cash-stock ratio of the deal.
    • The debate about what Vodafone should do with the proceeds of the deal is already well under way: while shareholders are hoping for a healthy windfall, the FT reports that the company is interested in expanding its presence in the wire-line sector in Europe with deals similar to its proposed acquisition of Kabel Deutscheland. Liberty Global (LBTYA) has cropped up in the speculation as a potential target. (PR)
  • Sep. 1, 2013, 2:54 PM
    • Verizon Communications (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD) have reached a deal on VZ's purchase of VOD's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, WSJ says.
    • As expected, VZ will pay around $130B for the stake, in "roughly equal portions of cash and stock."
    • An official announcement is expected as soon as Monday afternoon.
    • Previous: VZ, VOD boards expected to vote on wireless deal.
  • Sep. 1, 2013, 1:50 AM
    • The boards of Verizon Communications (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD) are reportedly expected to vote this weekend on a deal in which the U.S. telecom operator would acquire Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130B in what would be the third-largest corporate acquisition of all time. The deal could be announced tomorrow.
    • Verizon would pay for half the purchase with its own stock and $65B of debt. RBC analyst Doug Colandrea believes that Verizon Wireless' $28.6B of free-cash flow would enable Verizon Comm to repay the debt relatively quickly. The company would also sell some European assets back to Vodafone.
    • The transaction will be structured in such a way that Vodafone's tax bill could be limited to $5B. (Previous)
  • Aug. 30, 2013, 8:41 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD) investors are at ends on the best use of the company's $130B potential windfall from the sale of its Verizon stake. One camp wants the cash returned to shareholders in the form of dividends. The other camp hopes proceeds will be furrowed into the business and used for infrastructure upgrades and acquisitions to diversify the struggling European mobile business.
    • Another angle to consider: AT&T is reportedly interested in Vodafone's mobile business.
  • Aug. 30, 2013, 2:05 AM
    • AT&T (T) would reportedly be interested in buying assets that remain as part of Vodafone (VOD) should the U.K. carrier sell its 45% percent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications.
    • However, AT&T is only interested in Vodafone's cellular business and would be put off should the latter continue to expand in the wire-line sector. It recently agreed to acquire Kabel Deutschland for $10B.
    • AT&T is attracted to Europe, where it's been considering acquiring assets for a while, due to the relatively recent introduction of 4G. Vodafone would be particularly enticing given the large amount of cash it would receive for its Verizon Wireless holding.
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  • Aug. 29, 2013, 11:15 AM
    • With the company still only sporting a market cap of $155B, analysts think Vodafone (VOD +8.1%) could go higher still if it sells its Verizon Wireless stake to Verizon for $130B (net proceeds will likely be lower due to taxes), as it's reportedly close to doing.
    • Merrill sees 20% upside from current levels, and hedge fund analysts talking to Notable Calls think Vodafone is worth $40/share even if it only receives $120B. David Einhorn won't be complaining if that happens.
    • Meanwhile, Bernstein is echoing a March BofA/Merrill report by arguing AT&T (T +1.2%), hungry to expand internationally, could buy what's left of Vodafone following a Verizon Wireless deal. Bloomberg reported in June AT&T "remains interested" in Vodafone's assets, among various other international properties.
    • More on Vodafone/Verizon
  • Aug. 29, 2013, 9:45 AM
    • Infosys (INFY +0.1%) has been upgraded to Outperform, and Wipro (WIT +0.3%) to Neutral, by Macquarie.
    • AutoNavi (AMAP -1%) has received a two-notch downgrade to Underperform from Macquarie, and a downgrade to Hold from Deutsche, following its Q2 miss and decision to stop providing guidance.
    • Vodafone (VOD +8.3%) has been started at Sell by SocGen. Investors are more interested in other news.
    • SMI (SMI +2.8%) has been upgraded to Market Perform by Bernstein.
    • LTX-Credence (LTXC -1.4%) has been cut to Hold by Craig-Hallum a day after providing soft guidance to go with its FQ4 results.
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  • Aug. 29, 2013, 9:11 AM
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  • Aug. 29, 2013, 3:22 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD) has confirmed reports that it's in discussions with Verizon Communications (VZ) over the sale of the U.K. carrier's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to the U.S. company.
    • Other than saying that "there is no certainty that an agreement will be reached," Vodafone provided no further details.
    • Bloomberg reported that the sides are in advanced talks over a $130B deal. (PR)
    • Vodafone shares are +8.1% in London.
  • Aug. 29, 2013, 3:03 AM
    • Verizon Communications (VZ) is in advanced negotiations to acquire Vodafone's (VOD) 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130B, Bloomberg reports, adding that an announcement could come early next week.
    • The speculation goes further than a report in the WSJ, which said that the companies had rekindled their talks but was uncertain about the price involved.
    • Verizon is in discussions with the several banks that would provide it with loans of $60B to help finance the deal.
    • As part of the transaction, Verizon may sell back its 23% stake in Vodafone Italia, possibly worth €4B ($5.3B), to the U.K. company.
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  • Aug. 28, 2013, 7:00 PM
    • Sources state Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD) have "rekindled talks" regarding the former's purchase of the latter's 45% Verizon Wireless stake, and that Verizon has even gone as far as to hold financing talks with banks.
    • Talks cooled off earlier this year due to differences over price. Vodafone reportedly wanted $130B for the stake, and Verizon is believed to have only made an initial offer of $100B.
    • The fact Verizon Wireless continues to perform much better than Vodafone's slumping European ops could be compelling the giant international carrier to hold out for an offer it can't refuse. At the same time, the windfall from a sale (the exact amount would depend on Vodafone's tax bill) would give Vodafone plenty of resources to further expand into faster-growing emerging markets.
  • Aug. 28, 2013, 3:58 PM
    • The EU had proposed to cut the maximum wholesale voice and data roaming fee rates paid by carriers to rivals by 70% for voice traffic, and 90% for data. Reuters reports EC telecom chief Neelie Kroes scrapped the idea following carrier criticism.
    • European carriers such as Vodafone (VOD), Telefonica (TEF), Orange (ORAN), Telefonica (TEF), Telecom Italia (TI), and Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) are already up in arms over plans to eliminate consumer roaming fees in the name of creating a common EU telecom market. The EU also wants to make it easier for carriers in different markets to merge.
    • Kroes will unveil her proposals for creating a common telecom market on Sep. 10. EU states and the European Parliament have to sign off on them.
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  • Aug. 15, 2013, 10:23 AM
    • Greenlight Capital's latest 13F indicates David Einhorn dumped his 6.1M-share Microsoft (MSFT -1.8%) stake, and his 5.4M-share Seagate (STX -3.4%) stake, in Q2.
    • Einhorn also took some profits in Marvell (MRVL -1.3%), paring his position to 44.3M shares from 51.8M shares at the end of Q1. But that still leaves him with a ~9% stake in the chipmaker, which has been on a tear this year.
    • Einhorn still has sizable positions in Apple (AAPL -0.4%), Vodafone (VOD -1.1%), and Computer Sciences (CSC -1.6%).
  • Aug. 14, 2013, 10:39 AM
    • Silver Spring (SSNI -21.8%) has plunged after the U.K. government hands the telecom contracts for a nationwide smart meter rollout to Telefonica (TEF -0.6%) and TV infrastructure operator Arqiva, thereby shutting out Vodafone (VOD -0.8%).
    • Silver Spring and Vodafone had partnered on a bid to create and run the telecom infrastructure behind the smart meters. The U.K. is looking to install 53M smart meters by 2019.
    • Telefonica's contracts, which cover two of the three regions for which smart meter telecom contracts have been handed out, are worth £1.5B ($2.3B) over 15 years.
    • Silver Spring soared two weeks ago thanks to a big Q2 beat.
  • Aug. 7, 2013, 9:53 AM
    • Finisar (FNSR +14.5%) has been upgraded to Outperform by Raymond James following yesterday's FQ1 pre-announcement.
    • Zillow (Z -4.9%) has been cut to Sector Perform by RBC following its Q2 beat and guidance hike.
    • Vodafone (VOD +1.1%) has been started at Outperform by Raymond James.
    • Activision (ATVI +0.6%) has been started at Buy by Benchmark.
    • Marchex (MCHX +18.7%) has been upgraded to Outperform by RBC in response to its Q2 beat.
    • Allot (ALLT +0.5%) has been cut to Sector Perform by Pac Crest, and upgraded to Outperform by Oppenheimer, a day after its Q1 miss (I, II).
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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.