"It's been a busy weekend on the long-running proposed Vodafone AirTouch [NYSE:VOD] hostile takeover of Germany's Mannesmann Group. Vodafone has roundly slated Mannesmann for an inadequate defense, while rumors are flying of a number of other Vodafone AirTouch takeovers being in the offing.
"In a blistering attack issued over the weekend, Vodafone said that Mannesmann's published defense against the firm's takeover bid fails to provide any convincing arguments as to why the two companies are not better together.
"Vodafone said that, in particular, Mannesmann's defense "continues to avoid the key strategic issue of what it can do independently that it could not do better together with Vodafone AirTouch."
"Mannesmann avoids the issue because it cannot deny that owning over 47 percent of the combined group provides more value and proportionate earnings to its shareholders than owning 100 percent of Mannesmann," the critique added.
"Vodafone AirTouch Chief Executive Chris Gent said that there is nothing new in Mannesmann's document. Once again, he said, Mannesmann has failed to address the choice its shareholders are being asked to make.
"Nothing in Mannesmann's document addresses the outstanding opportunities for growth that Mannesmann and Vodafone AirTouch will have together. Comparisons of Vodafone AirTouch today with Mannesmann miss the point," he said.
"The Jan. 16 issue of The Sunday Times, meanwhile, reported that Vodafone Airtouch is talking about a linkup with Vivendi, the French media and telecom group.
"The report is interesting as both Vodafone AirTouch and Mannesmann have a stake in Vivendi's Cegetel division. The UK newspaper reported that Vodafone and Vivendi are talking about pooling their respective Internet interests.