Shares of Vodafone Group rose on Friday after a media report stated that US mobile operator AT&T was exploring strategies for a potential takeover of the British telecom firm. AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson has said there is a huge opportunity to invest in mobile broadband in Europe and he would buy wireless assets if they were available at the right price.
AT&T is the second-largest mobile provider in the US after Verizon Wireless. But it is not adding new customers in its home market as fast as Verizon,and it is also ceding market share to much smaller rival T-Mobile US. Vodafone sold its stake in Verizon Wireless to its joint venture partner Verizon Communications Inc for $130 billion in September,leaving it with a pan-European business spanning Britain to Romania and operations in the Middle East and Africa.
A Bloomberg report on Thursday,citing people familiar with the situation,said AT&T was examining how it could divide Vodafone up after a deal,keeping some assets and disposing of others. Shares of Vodafone were up 2.9 per cent to 231 pence at 1104 GMT,the biggest gainers on the FTSE 100 index of blue-chip stocks.