Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images NEW YORK — Verizon and AT&T are looking at making a joint bid for Vodafone, the British cellphone company that owns 45 percent of Verizon Wireless, a report says.
New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) owns the 55 percent of Verizon Wireless that Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) doesn’t own, and has been openly interested for years in buying out Vodafone. But tax and pricing issues have gotten in the way.
According to the Financial Times, the joint bid would mean Verizon would get Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless, while AT&T Inc. (T) would take over the rest of Vodafone, which has widespread international interests. It operates in Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and India, among other countries.
The newspaper cited “usually reliable people” that it didn’t further identify.
There has been speculation that AT&T is interested in international expansion, but few signals from the company that this is the case. Cross-border deals in telecommunications have few benefits.
What effect, if any, the deal would have on Verizon Wireless customers isn’t clear. With some 92.5 million subscribers, Verizon Wireless is the nation’s largest wireless-service provider. AT&T has about 70.5 million contract customers, making it second among U.S. carriers.
Verizon had no comment on the report. AT&T didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The London-based newspaper put the value of the bid at $245 billion, which would make it the largest corporate deal ever.
Vodafone shares rose 65 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $28.99 in midday trading, after spiking as high as $29.95 in earlier U.S. trading. Shares of AT&T and Verizon were up about 1 percent, slightly more than market indexes.
DailyFinance staff contributed to this report.