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01 February 2013
| Richard Irving
With mega mergers seemingly off the table, competition regulators could have a trick up their sleeve and there are plenty of conjurors poised to weave some magic.
In the end, the mergers and acquisitions outlook could all
boil down to a simple numbers game.
In cash-strapped Europe, all eyes are on the competition
authorities and how they will rethink the 'magic
number’ of competitors they insist upon
championing in small and often crowded local markets after
approving Hutchison Whampoa’s €1.3 billion
purchase of Orange Austria.
In the US, meanwhile, the emphasis is on the number two
– and specifically whether Verizon, the
US’s second largest phone operator by stock market
value, might look to capitalise on a woeful year at Vodafone to
finally unravel their complicated wireless joint venture with
an audacious move on the UK giant.
And in Asia, the spotlight shines on Masayoshi Son, the
so-called "Bill Gates of Japan", and his now not-so-risible
ambitions to build Softbank into the world’s
number one phone operator.
But it is, of course, another set of numbers...