AT&T’s Stephenson Said to Meet With EU’s Kroes on Deals in Davos

Jan 25, 2014 12:46 pm ET

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson took advantage of the World Economic Forum this week to discuss potential European acquisitions with the region’s top telecommunications official, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Stephenson met informally in Davos, Switzerland with European Union digital commissioner Neelie Kroes, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. As in several earlier meetings over the last year, they discussed the possibility of an AT&T bid for Vodafone Group Plc or another European carrier, as well as regulatory issues, the person said.

AT&T, the second-largest U.S. mobile operator, is looking to Europe for growth as its home market becomes more competitive. T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp., the fourth- and third- largest players, are cutting prices and offering additional mobile data in an effort to break the dominance of AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc.

The meeting was reported earlier by Sky News.

Dallas-based AT&T is laying the groundwork internally for a potential offer for Vodafone, people familiar with the matter said in October.

A spokesman for Kroes declined to comment, as did Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman, and Vodafone spokesman Simon Gordon.

--With assistance from Scott Moritz in New York and Amy Thomson in London. Editors: Mark Beech, Kenneth Wong