A new report from Forrester Research today points the finger at Vodafone as a possible partner in a ...
A new report from Forrester Research today points the finger at Vodafone as a possible partner in a bid to acquire Worldcom, the US telecoms firm bankrupted by false accounting.
The report says that the US telecoms industry regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, is prepared to waive competition rules in order to secure telecoms services for the up to 20 million Worldcom customers who may have their lines cut off by receivers looking to sell off the firm's assets.
Instead, the FCC is thought to favour a merger with either SBC or Verizon, two of the group of so-called "baby Bells" created when the former US telecoms monopoly AT&T was split up by Congress in the early 1980s.
Verizon is the parent company of Verizon Wireless in which Vodafone has a 44% stake, with Verizon as the only other shareholder.
Vodafone has so far followed a trend of selling off fixed line assets when it has bought into competitors such as Mannesmann, the German company whose acquisition made Vodafone the biggest European wireless operator.
But in the current climate for telecoms operators, it may be that Verizon requires its partner to put some cash on the table if it intends to take advantage of the synergies that could come from cross-selling wireless services to Worldcom's former fixed line customers - that 20 million customer base could add significantly to Vodafone earnings.
Investors in the City may frown on any such deal, however, given that Vodafone shares are only just approaching the £1 level again after dropping from nearly £4 in early 2000 to just 80p two weeks ago.
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