Vodafone has $30-$40 billion for acquisitions
Mr. Colao told reporters he was exploring possibilities for a potential shopping spree on big acquisitions on top of investments in Vodafone's existing business after a $130 billion windfall it will get from an asset sale to Verizon Communications later this month.
"We are looking at acquisitions that are sizeable and could transform the company. The theory is that if an acquisition makes sense you should not be worried by the size because shareholders should approve it," said the executive at a media roundtable in New York.
Vodafone may have $40 billion spending money after returning most of the Verizon deal proceeds to shareholders and investing $30 billion in its network over roughly two years if the company sticks to its target for a ratio of two to one for debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, he said.
Mr. Colao said Vodafone is keen to build up its fixed-line assets in Europe, its enterprise business around the world and its mobile business in emerging markets. He said that Vodafone has a roughly 16 to 17 percent share of the total telecommunications market and that it could conceivably increase this to a range of 20 to 23 percent.
Mr. Colao said his best opportunity to buy mobile assets may be in emerging markets as Vodafone could have trouble getting many deals past regulators in Europe because of its size there. ■