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AT&T Formally Rules Out a Takeover Bid for Vodafone

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USA based AT&T has officially ruled out any bid to buy Vodafone, at least in the short term.

Over the weekend there were unconfirmed reports that AT&T's CEO, Randall Stephenson had held talks with the EU Commissioner, Neelie Kroes whose support would be essential in clearing the regulatory hurdles of a takeover bid.

Although Vodafone was apparently not explicitly named in the talks, AT&T did indicate a keenness to expand in Europe, and all the speculation in recent months is that the US firm would look to buy a major European asset -- namely Vodafone.

In a stock market statement, AT&T said that it had noted the recent media speculation about a takeover bid for Vodafone, and said that it had been asked by the UK Takeover Panel to clarify its intent.

AT&T said that it does not intend to make an offer for Vodafone.

As Vodafone is a UK listed company, under UK stock market rules, AT&T is now barred from making a takeover bid of its own for at least six months, although it could join forces with someone else who was launching such a takeover bid.

Vodafone is due to hold a shareholders meeting next week to approve the deal to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless and return most of the proceeds to its shareholders. The result will be a much shrunken Vodafone, albeit still in the top-10 of UK firms, with high expectations that it could itself become a takeover target in the next year or two.

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Tags: at&t  vodafone  UK