What’s next for Vodafone?

So Vodafone is set to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $130bn in a mix of stock and shares.

With half of that expected to fall to shareholders in what is being viewed as a boost to the UK economy, Vodafone is left with a big pot of money to spend.

CEO Vittorio Colao has spoken recently about expanding beyond voice and text into data and other communications services as consumers tend towards one provider for phone, broadband and TV – and its June deal to buy one of Germany’s biggest telecommunications firm, Kabel Deutschland, for 7.7bn Euros supports that.

The Financial Times reported that Vodafone could make an offer for Ono, the Spanish cable operator, or Italian firm Fastweb, for 7bn Euros and 2bn Euros respectively, to accelerate its convergence strategy.

A series of such deals would give Vodafone the muscle and the reach to reinvent itself – but other giants might try and buy the business before it gets a chance.

Chief among these predators is AT&T, a US telecoms company.

It sees potential in mobile data services like home automation and connected car navigation as 4G is rolled out across the continent.

Another, Liberty Global, might take more of an interest in Vodafone’s fixed line and cable assets, having as it does a vast number of European cable assets already.

As Colao and his cohorts cheer and clap each other’s backs at holding out for a good price to sell their share in Verizon, they might come into work tomorrow facing a fresh challenge with all that new money lying around: what they do with it might well define whether Vodafone is an acquirer or just another fish in the sea.

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