US telecoms giant AT&T Inc has ruled out an imminent bid for UK-based Vodafone Group, following a weekend of intense speculation. In a statement to the stock exchange, AT&T confirmed: ‘AT&T Inc notes the recent speculation regarding a potential transaction involving Vodafone Group. At the request of the UK Takeover Panel, AT&T confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Vodafone.’ Further, the US telco has said that it is bound by rule 2.8 of the Takeover Code, which says that unless there is a material change – such as a bid by someone else – then a company that rules out an offer cannot make a new approach within a six month timeframe.
Widespread speculation over AT&T’s intentions emerged over the weekend, following reports that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made an initial approach to Vodafone representatives at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, before sounding out EU telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes regarding the feasibility of such a transaction. According to reports, AT&T was putting together a deal worth GBP60 billion (USD98.9 billion) for the international telecoms group.