Vodafone rises on report of AT&T interest in possible takeover

Fri Nov 1, 2013 4:20am EDT
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LONDON Nov 1 (Reuters) - Shares in Vodafone Group opened up 2.2 percent after Bloomberg reported AT&T was exploring strategies for a potential takeover of the British mobile operator.

AT&T has not hidden its European ambitions, with its chief executive Randall Stephenson saying last month that there was a "huge opportunity" in Europe to invest in mobile broadband.

The U.S. company has been eyeing Europe since the beginning of the year, and has considered options including pan-European player Vodafone and Britain's largest mobile carrier EE, a joint venture of Orange and Deutsche Telekom, sector bankers have previously told Reuters.

The Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the situation, says the companies have not entered formal negotiations but AT&T is examining how it could divide Vodafone up after a deal, keeping some assets and disposing of others. (Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Anthony Barker)