European telecom juggernaut Vodafone has agreed to sell its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $130 billion, the shareholders of both companies meet next Tuesday to vote on the deal. Vodafone might have agreed to end its association with a U.S. carrier, but if rumors are true, it may end up being acquired by one. Rumor has it that AT&T is willing to offer as much a $82 billion for Vodafone, apparently the former has decided to give up going after smaller European carriers and instead go after one of the biggest in the entire continent.
Rumor has it that AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson met with EU Telecoms Commissioner Neelie Kroes in Davos and discussed the carrier’s intentions of becoming a major player in Europe. Their discussions apparently included the Commission’s receptiveness towards the acquisition of a major European carrier like Vodafone. While AT&T hasn’t formally approached Verizon as yet, it has apparently started laying the groundwork for financing and has even started conducting legal and regulatory work. The carrier has reportedly been advised to hold off on a formal bid for Vodafone until after its deal with Verizon has closed, that may happen by the end of Q1, 2014. AT&T is expected to make a move from Vodafone this year, having the carrier under its belt would give it instant access to markets in countries like the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain.