Europe’s Telecom Buffet Is Open, and AT&T Just Might Be Hungry

September 25th, 2013 by · 1 Comment

Or is that Hungary? Nope that pun won’t work yet, hungry will have to do. So now that Verizon and Vodafone finally made the least secret deal of the decade happen, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has now publicly alluded to M&A opportunities in Europe. So who might they buy?

Pretty much anybody, really, but with a wireless focus. I mean, what do you get a US wireless carrier for Christmas that has pretty much bought everything the regulators will let it buy on this side of the Atlantic? The rest of Vodafone? Telefonica? Everything Everywhere? KPN?

If the valuation is right and they really do want to buy European wireless assets, it’s relatively easy to make the case for just about anything out there. They have the financial muscle to make all sorts of moves if they want to, and I don’t think they’ll face the opaque distrust that America Movil and Carlos Slim have been running into.

They probably won’t be looking for fiber, at least not primarily, but fiber has to be a part of the equation just as it is an important piece of their business in the USA.  But nothing too deep at that level of the infrastructure, just what is necessary to control backhaul costs etc.   The main idea will be expanding their wireless business somewhere that US regulators won’t stand in the way.

My bet, though is that Vodafone would offer the right balance: new markets to develop, enough fiber to make the business model sane, and substantial synergies with their global wholesale/enterprise networking business.

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Categories: Mergers and Acquisitions · Wireless

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  • Interesting post. The thought crossed my mind that although we have laws in the US preventing monopolistic actions, I am not sure if there are parallel international laws. Any thoughts in this regard? Is it a good thing if these companies go global? Are there any dangers? Very thought provoking post. Thanks.

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