Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam says he is open to having talks about mergers with just about any company, including his company’s biggest rivals, in an interview this week with Bloomberg.
McAdam said he is open to the possibility of merging with cable and telecommunications giants like Comcast, Disney or CBS, though he didn’t indicate any actual conversations with those companies have taken place. He reportedly previously floated Charter as a possible merger target.
“If [Comcast CEO] Brian [Roberts] came knocking on the door, I’d have a discussion with him about it,” McAdam said in his conversation with Bloomberg. “But I’d also tell you there isn’t much that I wouldn’t have a discussion around if somebody came and said, ‘Here’s a compelling reason why we ought to put the businesses together.'"
While the comments boosted the stock price of Verizon and all three of the companies named as possible merger candidates, no sale seems imminent. McAdam also noted in an interview with CNBC that any merger Verizon takes on would have to present the right fit for the company’s network architecture, which he says is unmatched by any other company.
“I would tell you right now we haven't seen the architectural fit, and we haven't seen a willing seller and a willing buyer to have a meeting of the minds," McAdam said in the interview with CNBC. "From a fiber perspective, nobody, whether you're a fiber company or you're a cable company, you don't have the architecture that we're talking about today."
Earlier this week, Verizon announced a deal with Corning that would provide the telecom company with as much as 37.2 million miles of optical fiber and related material over the next three years.
While Verizon may not see a clear partner to pair with right now, a deal with Comcast wouldn’t be totally out of left field. The two recently paired up to launch Xfinity Mobile, a cellular service offered by Comcast that currently uses the Verizon network. Comcast also has its own fiber infrastructure, though considerably less robust at the moment than the one Verizon is pursuing.
The open talk of merger does mark a significantly different tone for telecom companies, likely fueled by the election of President Donald Trump and his lax regulatory policies.
AT&T’s merger with Time Warner — an agreement that was expected to be blocked by the Obama administration — is expected to go off without a hitch. Sprint has been openly searching for merger partners. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to have a much smaller role in merger reviews and unlikely to stop sales that previously would have been blocked.