If you thought that the Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) deal with Vodafone Group PLC (NASDAQ: VOD) was massive this year, there is talk that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is now considering an even larger deal. Reports are out that AT&T is internally considering how to make an offer to acquire Vodafone.
The report was hatched on Bloomberg TV and frankly we cannot even fathom how this would be possible. AT&T and Verizon are already massive as is, and Vodafone’s market cap in the ADRs is somewhere just over $180 billion.
24/7 Wall St. would take this opportunity to address that this may just be a rumor without much meat. This could also be one of the regulatory situations that falls into too many jurisdictions to be able to navigate.
The good news is that Vodafone is completely flush with cash now that Verizon borrowed endless billions to buy the rest of the Verizon Wireless venture from Vodafone. AT&T has a market cap of $192 billion, so this potential acquisition might be cheaper on the surface than it sounds.
Dividend investors might become very worried here. AT&T is the king of the DJIA dividends with a yield of just over 5%. Vodafone’s dividend even screens out higher, but that is a semi-annual payment rather than quarterly and it fluctuates as this is an ADR.
Regulators in the United States may not care if Vodafone gets acquired by AT&T or not. It is outside of the United States. Still, this would make AT&T twice as powerful as it is now. What is interesting here now is whether or not European regulators might fear that all of the NSA phone hacking and spying would be even worse if AT&T owned Vodafone. US regulators recently blocked AT&T from buying T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom.
AT&T operates internationally, but this would be a major agenda. Vodafone is a global giant in mobile telecommunications with operations all throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere.
Vodafone ADRs are up just over 2.3% at $37.15 and AT&T is up 0.2% at $36.33. If Wall Street believed that a very large degree of truth was out in the rumor than this would be a much larger gain in Vodafone. AT&T shares might even be suffering from the pressure of the dilution or the borrowing.
One last possibility we would point out here is that this could easily be a sideshow. Perhaps AT&T wants to expand massively overseas, but maybe it has to think about living more within its means.