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Vodafone Group plc (VOD)

  • 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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  • Sep. 12, 2013, 2:55 PM
    • In spite of hedge fund opposition, Vodafone (VOD +0.7%) says 75% of Kabel Deutschland shares have been voted in favor of the mobile's carrier's €87/share offer  for the German cable provider, clearing the way for the deal to close.
    • Altogether, Vodafone is paying €10.7B ($14.2B) for Kabel (€7.7B in cash + $3B in assumed debt). The Verizon Wireless windfall should make the purchase pretty easy to digest. Vodafone has said the deal will grow the size of its German revenue base to €11.5B/year ($15.3B/year).
    • Separately, Vodafone U.K. CEO Guy Laurence is leaving to become the CEO of Canadian carrier Rogers (RCI -1.4%). U.K. enterprise exec Jeroen Hoencamp will replace Laurence.
    • Rogers' hiring of Laurence comes 7 months after the company' current CEO, Nadir Mohamed, announced plans to retire in Jan. '14. Laurence will take over the top job on Dec. 2.
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  • Sep. 12, 2013, 7:04 AM
    • The EU's plan to scrap roaming charges for incoming calls from July 2014 and put a limit on other tariffs, which it announced yesterday, could leave the telecom sector open to more consolidation if the rules come into force, analysts reckon.
    • "Margins are going to be wafer-thin," says CMC Markets' Michael Hewson. "There are already too many companies operating in Europe...and with these new rules, the capacity for European companies to make a profit will be greatly reduced.
    • However, Hewson points out that the regulations will only apply to calls and not data, which tends to be more expensive.
    • Companies that will be hit by the rules include Telefonica (TEF), Vodafone (VOD) and Orange (ORAN), and it makes you wonder whether AT&T (T) will still want to make acquisitions in the EU.
  • Sep. 12, 2013, 5:32 AM
    • A hacker has stolen the personal information of 2M Vodafone Germany (VOD) customers in the latest cyber-attack on a major corporation.
    • The data accessed included names, addresses, dates of birth, gender, sort codes and account numbers. However, the hacker wasn't able to see credit card information, passwords, PIN numbers, mobile phone numbers or data connections. Customers in other countries have not been affected.
    • Vodafone said the attack was only possible with "insider knowledge" of the company's IT infrastructure.
    • Police have already identified a suspect and seized his assets. (PR)
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  • Sep. 11, 2013, 7:16 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD) was far away from securing shareholder approval for its €7.7B takeover of Kabel Deutschland (KBDHF.OB) as of 5.30 pm in Germany yesterday, not long before the offer is due to lapse at midnight tonight.
    • Kabel investors had tendered 19.88% of shares, well below the 75% minimum requirement that Vodafone has set for the deal to go through.
    • Kabel Deutschland's biggest shareholder, U.S. activist investment fund manager Paul Singer, wants Vodafone to raise its offer for the German company, but the British operator has refused to do so. (PR)
  • Sep. 9, 2013, 4:21 AM
    • Kabel Deutschland (KBDHY.OB) shareholders reportedly fear that Vodafone (VOD) won't reach the required level for its €7.7B acquisition of the German cable operator to go through.
    • Vodafone has stipulated that 75% of Kabel Deutschland shares need to be tendered by Wednesday in what is the first stage of a two-step approval process. The U.K. operator could lower the level before the deadline but said it has no intention of changing the conditions.
    • Failure to buy Kabel Deutschland could make Vodafone vulnerable to a takeover bid from AT&T (T), which is thought to be interested in the British carrier's European mobile assets but not its cable operations.
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  • Sep. 6, 2013, 5:29 PM
    • Hedge fund manager Mike Bergen reports hearing John Paulson is buying a major stake in Vodafone (VOD).
    • Bergen: "This is a liquidation story now. Break-up value is 50% higher.."
    • Vodafone's Verizon Wireless deal will leave it with $65B in cash (more than enough to eliminate its $38.8B in net debt) and a $65B equity stake in Verizon. There are already reports AT&T would be interested in Vodafone's international assets once the Verizon deal closes.
  • Sep. 6, 2013, 1:14 PM
    • As expected, EC telecom commissioner Neelie Kroes has submitted a draft law that would end mobile voice, text, and data roaming fees (in favor of flat-rate charges) for consumers traveling from one EU market to another.
    • Kroes proposes to achieve this by having carriers establish "alliances" with peers in other EU markets. She's giving carriers incentives (in the form of more relaxed rules on international roaming deals) to adopt the proposals by July '14.
    • Unsurprisingly, local carriers such as Vodafone (VOD +0.5%), Orange (ORAN +0.5%), Telefonica (TEF +1.7%), Telecom Italia (TI +1.1%), Portugal Telecom (PT +1%), and Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) aren't thrilled with the roaming proposals, which they estimate could cost them €7B/year.
    • Other proposed rules in the draft law, which aims to create a common EU telecom market, include the harmonizing of spectrum sale rules across countries, and the establishment of net neutrality-like safeguards to prevent carriers from blocking rival services. There's no proposal to create an EU-wide telecom regulator, as had been speculated.
    • Previous: EU ditches effort to slash wholesale roaming fees
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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.