Well, that was quick. On Tuesday, the buzz was that Verizon and AT&T were thinking of bidding an eye-watering $245 billion for the UK-based carrier Vodafone. If true, this would have represented the biggest M&A transaction ever.
However, late on Tuesday evening Verizon issued the following statement, which keeps alive the perennial possibility of Verizon buying out Voda’s stake in their joint venture, Verizon Wireless, but which is also pretty categorical on the latest rumor:
“As Verizon has said many times, it would be a willing purchaser of the 45 percent stake that Vodafone holds in Verizon Wireless. It does not, however, currently have any intention to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others.”
The denial knocked down Voda’s share price by – at the time of writing – 2.2 percent on intra-day trading. That said, according to Bloomberg, the rumor brought a 6.1 percent bump on Tuesday, so for now it did more good (for Voda’s investors) than harm.
According to Reuters, the problem with the Verizon-buying-out-Vodafone’s-stake scenario is that the $115 billion transaction would land Voda with a $20 billion tax bill – hence the idea of carrying out a merger instead. Apparently that’s now not going to fly, so it’s back to the drawing board.