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Vodafone Group plc (VOD)

  • Nov. 21, 2013, 11:29 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD +2.2%) CEO Vittorio Colao: "We have a strategy and we are putting a lot of money into it, but if somebody comes and says, ‘You have really beautiful assets,’ then I will agree."
    • AT&T (T +0.2%) has been reported more than once to be weighing a bid for Vodafone, now that the giant international carrier has sold its Verizon Wireless stake for a $130B windfall.
    • Colao also says Vodafone is seeing "very early signs" of improvement in recession-hit Spain, where the company's sales have been steadily declining, but also admits Vodafone has "lost a bit of market share" in the country.
    • He adds Vodafone is open to M&A opportunities in Spain and other European markets - EU regulators are encouraging cross-market consolidation - as well as in India, where Vodafone is set to buy out its minority partners. Other EU carriers are also looking to get bigger.
    • Yesterday: Vodafone's capex could stay elevated, CEO outlines ambitious goal
  • Nov. 20, 2013, 2:25 PM
    • With his company having just reaped a $130B Verizon Wireless windfall, Vodafone (VOD -1.9%) CEO Vittorio Colao says his company is open to keeping its annual capex above traditional levels once its recently-announced Project Spring is finished at the end of FY16 (ends March '16).
    • Project Spring calls on Vodafone to spend an extra £7B ($11.3B) in capex through FY16. £3B of that sum will be spent on European 3G/3G investments. £1.5B will be spent on expanding 3G coverage in Asia-Pac and Africa, £1B on wireline broadband investments, £1B on improving customer experience platforms (customer support, payments, etc.), and £500M on bolstering Vodafone's enterprise services.
    • Colao, whose company recently spent $14.2B to acquire German cable giant Kabel Deutschland, also declares Vodafone will be the only European carrier in five years to offer bundled mobile/wireline services to consumers across the continent, via some mixture of investments, acquisitions, and partnerships. That could be a hint Vodafone is exploring additional European wireline acquisitions.
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  • Nov. 12, 2013, 2:39 AM
    • Vodafone's (VOD) H1 EBITDA dropped 4.1% to £6.6B but topped consensus of £6.4B.
    • Revenue +1.2% to £22.03B; on organic basis, revenue -3.2%.
    • Pretax profit £1.51B.
    • Takes £3B tax charge on $130B sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless.
    • Confirms full-year guidance for adjusted operating profit of £5B, free cash flow of £4.5–5B.
    • Vodafone intends to invest £7B ($11.18B) by March 2016 as part of its "Project Spring" to improve its network as it looks to cater to consumers who want to access the Internet with smartphones and tablets.
    • Declares interim dividend of 3.53 pence a share, up 8%; intends to pay full-year dividend of 11 pence. (PR)
  • Oct. 31, 2013, 3:38 PM
    • AT&T (T +0.2%) has stepped up work on a strategy for what would be a complex and expensive deal, says Bloomberg, in part trying to identify which assets it would retain and who would be buyers of the businesses to be spun off.
    • The combined AT&T and Vodafone (VOD +2.3%) would have a market cap in excess of $250B, huge operations here and across the pond, and more than 500M wireless subscribers, giving it the scale to challenge Google and Apple when negotiating cell phone subsidies, and squeezing out profits from rising technologies like mobile advertising.
    • Any deal, of course, would have to wait until Vodafone closes the sale of its Verizon Wireless stake, expected to occur early next year.
  • Oct. 29, 2013, 12:09 PM
    • Confirming a recent Bloomberg report, Vodafone (VOD -0.6%) has officially requested approval to assume full ownership of its Indian unit, Vodafone India.
    • The carrier is offering $1.7B to buy out minority holders; it paid $11B to buy a direct majority stake (currently at 64.4%) in the unit in 2007, and directly and indirectly owns an 84.5% stake. Thus, Vodafone's offers values Vodafone India at nearly $11B.
    • Vodafone India is India's second-largest mobile carrier, and had 154M subs (18% of the local market) as of August. Vodafone, flush with Verizon Wireless cash, has promised to invest $2B in its Indian ops.
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  • Oct. 27, 2013, 4:28 AM
    • Myanmar's government has reportedly invited leading foreign mobile carriers, including Vodafone (VOD) and Orange (ORAN), to bid to run a cellular network in partnership with state-owned Myanmar Posts & Telecommunications (MPT).
    • The invitation is a second chance for Vodafone and Orange to enter the country after they lost out for two licenses earlier this year.
    • There is much room for growth in Myanmar, where less than 10% of its population of 60M people have mobile phones. However, concerns include the government's ambitious timetable for building the network and the potential involvement of a conglomerate connected to the military.
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  • Oct. 21, 2013, 3:54 AM
    • Vodafone's (VOD) senior team of 250 managers will make £56M when the U.K. carrier completes the sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $130B.
    • Vodafone has promised to use the proceeds of the deal to pay 112 pence a share to its stockholders in cash and Verizon Communications shares.
    • As owners of 50M Vodafone shares, the managers will receive £16M in cash and £40M in Verizon stock. CEO Vittorio Colao will get over £10M, not far off the £11M salary he earned last year.
  • Oct. 10, 2013, 12:20 PM
    • Orange (ORAN +3.8%) and Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGY.PK) Everything Everywhere U.K. mobile JV has struck an MVNO deal with wireline giant BT (BT +1.6%). (PR)
    • The deal, which ends a 9-year partnership BT had with Vodafone (VOD +0.7%), allows BT to sell mobile services to its customers using EE's 3G/4G infrastructure.
    • EE launched 4G services in the U.K. ahead of rivals, and now has more than 1M subs on its 4G network. Vodafone's U.K. 4G sub base just passed 100K.
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  • Oct. 8, 2013, 11:30 AM
    • Bloomberg reports Vodafone (VOD), which currently owns 64.4% of its Indian subsidiary, wants to buy out its minority partners and could start talks in the coming weeks. However, a source adds Vodafone hasn't yet decided how much it's willing to spend; a 2011 stake sale valued the company's Indian subsidiary at $11B.
    • The report follows one indicating Vodafone, set to receive $130B for its Verizon Wireless stake sale, has no interest in bidding for Telecom Italia's Brazilian unit. India presents the giant international carrier with a large and growing market, but also one where it has been at odds with the government over tax and spectrum issues.
    • The Indian government recently signed off on allowing foreign companies to fully own local mobile carriers.
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  • Oct. 7, 2013, 5:32 PM
    • A source tells Bloomberg Vodafone (VOD) is uninterested in acquiring TIM Participacoes (TSU), Telecom Italia's (TI) Brazilian unit.
    • There had been speculation Vodafone, set to be flush with Verizon Wireless cash, would make a bid for TIM, which TI is looking to unload following the Telefonica/Telco deal and the resignation of CEO Franco Bernabe (who wanted to hold onto Tim). AT&T is viewed as another potential acquirer.
    • Meanwhile, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, who once wanted to buy a stake in TI, now has a 1.2M-share short position in the Italian carrier. Reuters reports Sawiris believes TI will soon be hit by a credit downgrade - S&P just put the Italian carrier on watch for one - and considers it unlikely TI will be able to sell TIM before needing to raise fresh capital.
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  • Oct. 2, 2013, 12:04 PM
    • "I think Vodafone (VOD +0.9%) still remains pretty attractive..they could ultimately become a target," says David Einhorn during a Bloomberg TV talk.
    • Einhorn, who owned nearly 1.4M Vodafone shares at the end of Q2, has argued in the past Vodafone was worth buying in part due to the potential for a Verizon Wireless deal (now completed). But (like others) he has also made the case AT&T could acquire what remains of the giant international carrier following the deal's closing.
    • Vodafone has ticked higher on Einhorn's comments, and is touching levels last seen in '07.
    • Previous: AT&T reportedly interested in Vodafone assets
  • Sep. 20, 2013, 12:21 PM
    • The EC's rubber-stamping of Vodafone's (VOD +0.1%) $14.2B purchase of Germany's largest cable provider was generally expected, given the business is purely complementary to Vodafone's German mobile ops.
    • The news comes a week after Vodafone announced it had secured over 75% of Kabel shareholder votes, a prerequisite for the deal to pass.
    • The transaction is expected to close in the middle of October, provided irate hedge funds don't get in the way.
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  • Sep. 15, 2013, 3:06 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD) would be interested in acquisitions in India once the government clarifies merger rules, including those relating to the transfer of telecom spectrum between companies in any transaction. Vodafone's country chief, Marten Pieters, expects the clarification to come later this year.
    • Vodafone also continues to plan to list its India unit in the country, although only when spectrum policy is settled.
    • The U.K. carrier intends to expand in India despite a long-running $2.6B tax dispute with the government and a row over the latter's decision to force the company to re-bid for licenses in major cities such as Mumbai and Delhi.
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  • Sep. 13, 2013, 4:25 PM
    • Even though over 75% of Kabel Deutschland (KBDHY.OB) shares have been voted in favor of Vodafone's (VOD +0.6%) $14.2B acquisition of the company, 3 hedge funds - well-known activist fund Elliott Management, and shareholder funds Davidson Kemperer and York Capital - that tendered shares to help enable the acquisition plan to sue Vodafone in an attempt to obtain a higher price, according to Reuters.
    • Elliott founder Paul Singer has been arguing Vodafone's offer undervalues Kabel, but hasn't specified an appropriate price. Even if a lawsuit is likely to fail in court, its ability to drag out the closing of a deal could compel Vodafone to negotiate.
  • Sep. 13, 2013, 10:41 AM
    • Sources tell Bloomberg Orange (ORAN -0.9%) and Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) are delaying the sale of their Everything Everywhere U.K. mobile JV (has an early 4G lead) as they wait for AT&T (T +0.5%) to make its expected entry into Europe. AT&T has reportedly eyed a number of European assets, including EE.
    • Likewise, Bloomberg joins other news sources in reporting Telefonica (TEF +0.2%) is thinking of growing its Telecom Italia (TI -1.5%) stake by taking full control of holding company Telco.
    • Debt-laden European carriers have been shedding assets left and right. But they're now showing an interest in getting bigger, thanks both to AT&T and a growing willingness by regulators to sign off on consolidation.
    • Orange CEO Stephane Richard has predicted approval of a proposed merger of Telefonica and KPN's German units, which would lower the number of mobile carriers in Europe's largest market to 3, would "create an [M&A] earthquake" on the continent. Richard added Orange would attempt to grow its Spanish/Polish positions, and consider wireline acquisitions in Belgium and Romania, if regulators don't object.
    • EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia has said there's no "magic number" for how many carriers need to be in a market. Meanwhile, proposed telecom rules stand to encourage M&A, both by hurting carrier profitability in individual markets and by harmonizing rules across markets.
    • Vodafone (VOD +0.3%) is expected to invest a chunk of its Verizon Wireless windfall in European assets. And there's plenty of speculation AT&T will make a bid for the giant international carrier.
  • Sep. 13, 2013, 9:48 AM
    • Intel (INTC +2.5%) has been upgraded to Buy by Jefferies in the wake of the Intel Developer Forum and its many product announcements (I, II).
    • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU -0.9%) has been cut to Market Perform by BMO following a huge summer rally.
    • Former JV partners Verizon (VZ +0.8%) and Vodafone (VOD +0.9%) have been upgraded to Overweight by Evercore. Vodafone just won a closely-watched shareholder vote for the Kabel Deutschland deal.
    • Oclaro (OCLR +15.1%) has been upgraded to Buy by B. Riley in response to the II-VI deal.
    • Akamai (AKAM +1.3%) has been upgraded to Buy by Canaccord.
    • Monolithic Power (MPWR -2.2%) has been cut to Hold by Needham.
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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.