Emerging market mobile assets too costly: Vodafone

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Takeover prices for some emerging market telecom assets are too expensive to tempt UK mobile giant Vodafone, Vodafone’s chief executive told German financial magazine Capital.

“The sums demanded are much too high. We were interested in some companies in Africa – but we left it,” CEO Vittorio Colao said in comments published Wednesday.

Other rivals were attracted by the high average growth rates and undeterred by the lofty valuations.

“Either they saw earnings potential that we didn’t recognize, or they spent too much, which is what I am guessing,” the 49 year-old Italian said. Colao said Vodafone would not follow Deutsche Telekom’s

lead, which decided this week to sell its U.S. mobile unit to AT&T, and dispose of its stake in Verizon Wireless.

“I see no reason to part ways with this excellent company in the current situation,” he said.

Colao said he would speak to its U.S. partner “at the end of this year,” since Vodafone has not received a dividend since 2005.

(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Emerging market mobile assets too costly: Vodafone