Recent reports noted that AT&T was going to attempt a buyout of Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile carrier. This was months after other reports put AT&T and Verizon teaming up to purchase Vodafone, which would have been the second act in a weird carrier ownership triangle. AT&T has since dismissed all Vodafone buyout rumors — for now.
The original talks were a bit of a shell game, in which Vodafone would sell it’s share in Verizon (which they eventually did), only to have their former investment team up with AT&T to buy them outright. The logistics always seemed a bit off, but Vodafone sold their stake without the buyout having been executed.
AT&T was said to be offering as much as $82 billion for Vodafone, which would require a hefty stretch on their part. AT&T quickly shot that down, saying they have no plans to purchase Vodafone — yet. In a statement, AT&T noted they do not plan on making an offer for Vodafone currently, but “reserves the right to announce or participate in an offer or possible offer for Vodafone” in the next six months.
In layman’s terms, what AT&T is saying is that unless Vodafone asks them to, or someone else makes an offer, they aren’t interested. They’ve put a placeholder on a deal without having discussed or offered anything. If AT&T really has aspirations of growing globally, a Vodafone buyout would be a seemingly insurmountable step in that direction. For now, AT&T has no designs on Vodafone, but who knows what the future holds.