Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said he’d be open to having merger discussions with Comcast, Disney, or CBS, according to a report in Bloomberg News quoting McAdam.
The comments appeared to contradict comments that the Verizon CEO made in a separate interview on Tuesday, raising questions about whether McAdam was in fact opening the door to potential deal talks or simply affirming his duty to shareholders to evaluate any inbound offers.
Shares of Verizon were up roughly 1% following the report. Verzion declined to comment on the report.
Verizon is currently in the midst of a transition in its business, beefing up its media and advertising segment, particularly through its Yahoo and AOL purchases, while laying the groundwork for upcoming 5G technology. Verizon’s evolution mirrors that of rival AT&T, which is attempting to diversify into media with the purchase of Time Warner, while pushing toward 5G to fully take advantage of the combination of content and distribution.
Fit or not fit?
McAdam said that he would consider a merger with entertainment (via NBCU) and cable powerhouse Comcast if it could move Verizon in the right direction faster,according to Bloomberg.
“If Brian came knocking on the door, I’d have a discussion with him about it,” McAdam said, referring to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.
These comments should be taken with a big grain of salt. In a separate interview with CNBC on Tuesday, McAdam reportedly said that he didn’t see the right fit for a big cable merger at the moment.
“I think our shareholders expect us to look at every option but I would tell you right now we haven’t seen the architectural fit,” McAdam said on CNBC, according to Fortune. “And we haven’t seen a willing seller and a willing buyer that have a meeting of the minds.”
McAdam told Bloomberg he would also pick up the phone from Disney CEO Bob Iger or CBS CEO Les Moonves if they called up to discuss a merger.
As it stands, it appears McAdam is open to any merger that will put Verizon ahead in the race to dominate the next phase of entertainment and data delivery, but that he doesn’t have a particular company firmly in mind.