A light breeze of change is blowing for a little while in the wireless carrier world, with at least two of the four major American “players” looking to go through massive management alterations. On one hand, there’s T-Mobile, whose still pending merger with MetroPCS is key for the uncarrier’s future financial stability.
On the other, there’s Verizon, a network that’s reportedly looking for ways to get rid of Vodafone as a partner. For those of you that don’t know, UK-based Voda holds 45% ownership of the Verizon Wireless joint venture as of 2000.
A very recent (and very wild) rumor said that Big Red was not only looking to break the partnership with Vodafone, but acquire the British mammoth altogether in collaboration with AT&T. The report was as crazy as it was unsubstantiated and, guess what, Verizon has already debunked it.
“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 an intention to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others.” said America’s number one wireless service provider in a regulatory filing in response to “recent press speculation”.
That kind of clear-cut statement leaves very little room for speculation and should weather the storm of change that seemed likely to break out in the US carrier décor. But is there more than meets the eye here?
Perhaps, as it’s a little unusual to see a multibillion-dollar company like Verizon issue a statement like this so quickly. Also, it’s not like anyone bought the Vodafone buyout rumor in the first place, is it?
So why would Big Red be in such a hurry to disparage a report that was unreliable from the get-go? Simple, because Vodafone’s shares became more valuable when the acquisition rumors popped up all over the media.
The company’s stock jumped close to 6% yesterday, while immediately after Verizon cooled down the speculations the US-traded shares went down 3.4%. And I guess it’s pretty obvious why Big Red wants Voda’s stock to be as undervalued as possible, isn’t it?
Interestingly, AT&T hasn’t followed Verizon’s suit yet, having nothing to comment on the rumors for the time being. Ma Bell however can’t acquire the world’s second largest carrier all alone, as it would subsequently hold ownership of its biggest rival’s venture.
What do you make of this story? Do you think Verizon and AT&T could strike some sort of partnership in their mutual benefit after all? Will Vodafone yield its 45% ownership in Verizon Wireless? Sound off below.