May 29, 2014, 4:15 AM
- Sprint (S) Chairman Masayoshi Son reasons that the rise in telecom and cable mergers should allow his company to buy rival T-Mobile (TMUS). Three big mergers have taken place in recent months with Verizon (VZ) acquiring Vodafone (VOD) for $130B, Comcast (CMCSA) buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B, and the AT&T (T) purchase of DirecTV (DTV) for $49B.
- "Access to the Internet is currently dominated by three giants with no sizable competitor," says Son.
- Although the company has not yet made a formal bid on T-Mobile, it looks to lay the framework for a future purchase.
- Antitrust authorities have previously frowned on such a deal, as it would cut the number of national competitors in the wireless industry to three from four.
May 20, 2014, 3:20 AM
- Vodafone's (VOD) FY EBITDA dropped 5.4% to £12.8B as revenue slipped 1.9% to £43.6B, hurt by the carrier's exposure to sluggish European markets.
- Net profit attributable to shareholders soared to £59.25B from £413M a year earlier, boosted by the sale of Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130B, for which the British carrier received a one-off contribution of £48.2B.
- Adjusted operating profit dropped 37% to £7.67B, mainly due to a much lower contribution from Verizon Wireless before it was sold.
- In Q4, organic service revenue declined 3.8%, although that was slightly less than consensus of -3.9%.
- Expects FY 2015 EBITDA to drop to £11.4-11.9B.
- "Our operational performance has been mixed," says CEO Vittorio Colao. While Vodafone's "emerging markets businesses have performed strongly," in Europe, the company continues "to face competitive, regulatory and macroeconomic pressures."
- Vodafone declared a final dividend of 7.47 pence a share, giving total dividends of 11 pence, up 8%. (PR)
May 16, 2014, 5:37 PM
May 14, 2014, 7:53 PM
- Citing lower acquisition odds, Goldman has downgraded Vodafone (VOD) to Neutral.
- The downgrade comes amid widespread reports AT&T is closing in on a deal to acquire DirecTV, a move that (provided regulators sign off) would make it quite unlikely Ma Bell would bid for Vodafone.
- Yesterday: AT&T, Vodafone slide following DirecTV reports
May 13, 2014, 11:00 AM
- Bloomberg and WSJ reports suggesting AT&T (T -1.3%) is close to a mega-deal for DirecTV (DTV +0.7%) (possibly worth over $66B after factoring net debt) are leading investors to bet Ma Bell won't be interested in making a bid for Vodafone (VOD -2.2%), something the company has been frequently rumored to be interested in exploring.
- AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has already said "the window may be closing" on acquiring European assets, and has suggested he isn't thrilled with Vodafone's efforts to grow its wireline footprint via M&A.
- For his part, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao has hinted he's open to a deal, but has also made it clear his company will continue its wireline expansion strategy in the interim.
- AT&T, which didn't sell off following prior DirecTV reports, is off moderately today, as the Street expresses some concern over the potential $100/share price tag mentioned in Bloomberg's report.
- DirecTV (DTV +0.7%), meanwhile, has pared its AH gains and is now only trading near $88. Worries about regulatory approval might be playing a role; a Bloomberg source states AT&T and DirecTV are expecting a 12-month regulatory process for the deal.
Apr. 20, 2014, 3:24 AM
- French mobile operator SFR is poised to announce a network-sharing venture with Vodafone (VOD) in the coming days, CEO Jean-Yves Charlier has said.
- The partnership will cover several areas and will give SFR's professional clients access to Vodafone's network world-wide.
- News of the prospective collaboration comes after SFR's parent, Vivendi, agreed to sell the unit to cable operator Numericable Group.
Apr. 17, 2014, 1:03 PM
- Netflix (NFLX +3.6%) is in talks with Vodafone (VOD +1.1%) about a deal that would give the giant international carrier's subs "free access to Netflix content for a period of time," Bloomberg reports.
- Vodafone has majority ownership of networks in 15 European countries, including three Netflix markets - the U.K., Ireland, and the Netherlands. The company already has deals with Spotify and Sky Sports that provide free content access to new U.K. 4G subs.
- The report comes as AT&T tries to get Netflix and other streaming service providers to sign up for its Sponsored Data program, which allows content providers to subsidize customer data usage.
- Netflix, boosted by a morning Pac Crest upgrade, is trading near its session highs.
Apr. 10, 2014, 3:34 AM
- Vodafone (VOD) has agreed to acquire an 11% stake in its Indian unit held by partner Piramal Enterprises for 89B rupees ($1.48B).
- The transaction is part of Vodafone's plan to obtain 100% control of the subsidiary for a total of 101.41B rupees. The U.K. company owns 84.5% of Vodafone India directly and indirectly.
- Vodafone also intends to purchase the holding of another minority investor, businessman Analjit Singh.
Apr. 7, 2014, 10:45 AM
- With all signs suggesting U.S. regulators remain opposed to a Sprint/T-Mobile USA merger in spite of Masayoshi Son's PR campaign, rumors have emerged SoftBank (SFTBF) will turn its sights on acquiring Vodafone (VOD +0.9%) if its efforts to fuse the #3 and #4 U.S. carriers are thwarted.
- It's worth noting Vodafone ($96B market cap) would be much harder for SoftBank ($87B) to digest than T-Mobile ($26B). If it was to try, SoftBank would doubtlessly make use of its 37% stake in soon-to-be-public Alibaba (could have a $50B+ pre-tax value).
- Sprint (S -2.6%) and T-Mobile (TMUS -1.5%) are seeing moderate declines.
Apr. 3, 2014, 3:25 AM
- Vodafone's (VOD) U.K. division intends to spend £1B ($1.66B) on networks and services this year, and create 1,400 jobs by opening 150 new stores. That would take Vodafone's total branded outlets in the country to over 500.
- The plan comes as Vodafone strengthens and expands its European operations following the sale of its 45% in Verizon Wireless for $130B. The strategy includes the acquisition of Spanish cable operator Ono for €7.2B ($10B).
Mar. 26, 2014, 6:14 PM
- Less than two weeks after sealing a €7B deal to buy Spanish cable giant Ono, Vodafone (VOD -1.4%) CEO Vittorio Colao says he's open to a deal in neighboring Portugal. "If smaller cable companies were available for sale we would look at them ... If they are not available for sale, we’ll build fiber in their areas and then we will see.”
- Vodafone already offers IPTV services in Portugal to go with mobile offerings. It competes against TV services from Portugal Telecom (PT -0.9%) and cable leader Zon Multimedia, and is planning to bolster its position by rolling out fiber-to-the-home services to 1.5M households. France's Altice SA owns a smaller Portuguese cable provider.
- Vodafone has made it clear it plans to use some of its Verizon Wireless cash to grow its European wireline footprint via M&A and internal investments.
Mar. 19, 2014, 11:26 AM
- In spite of stiff protests from the region's carriers, an EU parliamentary committee has voted 30-12 (with 14 abstentions) in favor of ending mobile roaming fees (for voice, data, and SMS) by Dec. 15, 2015 for users traveling between EU countries. An exception exists for instances of "anomalous or abusive usage of retail roaming services."
- The committee has also backed creating net neutrality rules prohibiting carriers from blocking or slowing specific Internet services. The vote comes after the FCC said it would draft new U.S. net neutrality rules following a court ruling shooting down older ones.
- The loss of intra-continental roaming revenue stands to further pressure the bottom lines of European carriers, who have already been struggling to cope with slumping voice/SMS activity.
- One silver lining: The EU's roaming efforts are part of a broader push to create a common European telecom market, something likely to spur further consolidation.
- Affected carriers: VOD, ORAN, TEF, TI, DTEGY, BT
Mar. 16, 2014, 8:45 PM
- Consolidation continues in Europe's fragmented telecom sector, with Vodafone (VOD) inking a deal to buy Spanish cable company Ono SA for just over €7B, reports the WSJ. The U.K. player will assume Ono's €3.34B in debt and pay the rest in cash to Ono's shareholders. The planned Ono IPO approved just last week will obviously be preempted.
- Vodafone has struggled competing with Spanish telecoms offering bundled packages of high-speed home Internet, pay-TV, and cell phone service, but the Ono purchase will give it a much-needed fixed line operation.
- From Friday: A Vodafone/Ono deal is near.
Mar. 14, 2014, 6:53 AM
- Vodafone (VOD) is close to an agreement to acquire Grupo Corporativo ONO for €7.2B ($10B) including debt, Reuters reports, adding that while Ono's shareholders yesterday approved an IPO for the Spanish cable operator, they were holding out for a deal with the U.K. carrier.
- The sides are negotiating the final terms and could even reach a preliminary agreement today.
Mar. 10, 2014, 12:02 PM
- As European 4G investments ramp, "the window may be closing" on acquiring continental wireless assets, AT&T (T -0.4%) CEO Randall Stephenson stated last week at a Morgan Stanley conference (transcript). At the same time, he argued "there are still other opportunities" in Europe, such as those tied to the development of "global" SIM cards that can work with any type of device worldwide.
- Those remarks were highlighted by a weekend FT column declaring Stephenson had "poured more cold water." on hopes of an AT&T bid for Vodafone (VOD -4.2%). The AT&T chief has already been reported to have told investors further cable acquisitions by Vodafone would complicate a bid.
- Meanwhile, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao states recently-acquired Kabel Deutschland will act as the "core" of a wireline business in Germany and possibly other countries. He adds Vodafone's wireline ops will expand to include security, Web hosting, and entertainment services (previous).
- Colao was cryptic when asked about Vodafone's reported efforts to acquire Spanish cable giant ONO. "We'll see what happens."
Mar. 10, 2014, 3:01 AM
- Grupo Corporativo ONO's owners are moving forward with plans for an IPO, the WSJ reports, and are due to meet with analysts and candidates for independent directors today and tomorrow.
- The WSJ's article contrasts with a Reuters report on Friday which said that Vodafone (VOD) has agreed to a deal to acquire the Spanish cable operator.
- ONO's shareholders are due to hold an annual meeting on Thursday, when they could approve the IPO, which would effectively end any takeover talks.
- There's no word on the value of the IPO, although ONO's investors would reportedly want above €7B in any M&A.
- Liberty Global (LBTYA) has also been eying ONO.
VOD vs. ETF Alternatives
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.
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