According to an article published on thisismoney.co.uk (found through Engadget):
Documents circulating the City suggest that a consortium including US firm Verizon, Telefonica of Spain and private equity firm Blackstone hope to find funding for a 160p-a-share offer. That would value Vodafone at an eye-watering £96bn. JP Morgan Cazenove is thought to be masterminding the plan.
Sources say the bid, if successful, would lead to a complicated break-up. Verizon, with which Vodafone has a joint venture in America, would take control of the US and UK assets.
Telefonica, which paid £18bn for mobile firm O2 in November, is said to be interested in Vodafone's remaining European activities, including Italy and Germany.
Blackstone and other private equity firm would carve up the rest, including stakes in South Africa and China.
Almost 100 billion UK Pounds! That's NZ$300 billion, or US$167 billion.
Verizon Wireless, a CDMA operator in the USA, might be really interested in that. Apparently they have tried a few times in the recent past to buy Vodafone's participation on their American operations, and having a UK carrier would be an interesting side effect, except that it uses a completely different technlogy and this could have problems in adapting services, etc.
The whole thing leaves in the air what would happen with non-European operations. Vodafone Japan was sold to the SoftBank, leaving China, Australia and New Zealand for the grabs. I read somewhere that Vodafone could just close Vodafone Australia because it's not a leader in that market (not even close, really, with Telstra and Optus really leading the charge), but Vodafone New Zealand is another matter, since the company here shares the market with Telecom New Zealand almost on a 50/50 split.
Interesting times ahead, when the largest mobile operator in the world could be made into pieces. Is that what CEO Sarin has been working on all this time?
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