Vodafone’s share price rose following renewed speculation that the UK-based operator could be a potential takeover target of Masayoshi Son, the ambitious and bold CEO of Japan’s Softbank Group.
The company’s share price hit a peak of around 212 pence during mid-morning trading in London on Wednesday, well up on the 205.50p that was reached on Tuesday lunchtime.
A report in the Nikkei Asian Review earlier this week speculated what Son might do next following the apparent end of Softbank’s plans to buy T-Mobile US and merge it with Sprint.
While it has not been ruled out that the Japanese group will have another try for T-Mobile US, Softbank is also said to be predisposed towards Vodafone because it already knows the company quite well after buying Vodafone’s Japanese business in 2006.
Vodafone Group would certainly be an ambitious target, with one analyst setting the price tag at around $100 billion. Such a move could also pit Softbank against AT&T, with rumours that the U.S. giant is interested in buying the UK company refusing to die.
It’s far from the first time that Softbank and Vodafone have been bracketed together: in April a report in Forbes claimed that Softbank would prefer to consolidate the U.S. market, but should that prove impossible it may instead turn its attention to Europe, and in particular, Vodafone.
Softbank is also in line to make a considerable amount of money from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, which is planning what stands to be the largest Internet IPO in history, as well as breaking U.S. IPO records. Latest reports suggest that Alibaba could raise up to $20 billion. Softbank has also previously stated it has no interest in paring back its 34.4% stake in Alibaba.