AT&T: We Aren’t Planning To Take Over Vodafone, Shares Slump

AT&T: We Aren’t Planning To Take Over Vodafone, Shares Slump
By AT&T [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

At least for now, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) apparently doesn’t have any plans to offer to buy Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD). That’s according to a statement provided by AT&T to the U.K.’s Panel on Takeovers and Mergers.

AT&T files statement with U.K. panel

Rumors that AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) was planning a takeover of Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) have been circulating for some time. As a result of those rumors, shares of Vodafone have been rising. However, they fell nearly 3% today at the NASDAQ after AT&T filed its statement with the U.K. regulatory agency.

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The Panel and Takeovers and Mergers apparently asked AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) to respond to the rumors, and the carrier said it doesn’t “intend to make an offer for Vodafone.” The carrier’s statement also notes that it is bound by Rule 2.8 of the U.K.’s Takeover Code. Specifically, AT&T said it  “reserves the right to announce or participate in an offer or possible offer” for Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) and / or take other actions restricted under that rule within six months after the date of the provided statement—but only “in the circumstances described in note 2 to Rule 2.8 of the Code.”

AT&T, Vodafone not in formal negotiations

According to the rumors we’ve been hearing over the last several months, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) weren’t in formal negotiations for an acquisition. In other words, AT&T might not have any “official” intentions of making an offer, but by the statement it provided to the U.K. agency, it still could if it wanted to do so.

Reports last fall suggested that a deal between the two companies could be announced this year some time, so it may come as no surprise that AT&T has reserved the right to make some sort of official offer within the next six months. The telecommunications industry has been rocked by acquisitions almost nonstop for more than a year, so if a deal ever is cemented, it would be just the latest in a long line of them.

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