A Reuters report from Wednesday that claimed Verizon had hired advisers to prepare a $100 billion bid for Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless was apparently credible enough to provoke a response from major Vodafone investors.
According to a Reuters report today, six major investors are saying $100 billion would not be enough. These investors, which told Reuters that $120 billion would be closer to an agreeable amount but said if that number could not be reached, they would prefer a full merger of Verizon and Vodafone.
Verizon entered into a joint venture with Vodafone back in 2000, creating what is now Verizon Wireless. Verizon currently owns 55 percent of the company, while Vodafone holds the remaining 45 percent.
Verizon has long admitted to wanting to purchase the rest of Verizon Wireless via a buyout, but the business has proved too valuable for struggling Vodafone to let go. Verizon made a failed attempt to purchase Vodafone’s stake in the business back in 2006.
Wednesday’s report comes in the wake of talk earlier this month that Verizon and AT&T were eyeing a joint buyout of Vodafone. A post from the Financial Times’ Alaphaville blog that cited “usually reliable people,” Verizon Communications and AT&T are mulling a breakup bid for Vodafone at a 40 percent premium to Vodafone’s current price, or about 260 pence ($3.65) a share. Verizon later denied those rumors.
Shares of both Verizon and Vodafone remained relatively flat in early trading. As of 10:01 EST, Vodafone was trading at $30.52, and Verizon was down a fraction of a point to $53.56.