Verizon "Confident" in Its Assets and Strategy, CFO Says in Clarifying Deal Appetite

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Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam

"If there is the right opportunity out there to accelerate the strategy," the company will explore it, Matt Ellis says two days after his CEO was asked if he would take calls from Disney, Comcast and CBS.

Verizon CFO Matt Ellis on Thursday used the company's earnings conference call to clarify comments from chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam, who a day earlier told Bloomberg News that he was open to deal talks with the likes of Comcast, Walt Disney and CBS Corp. 

Ellis said McAdam's response came to a question about whether he would take calls and meetings from those companies and was simply meant to emphasize that Verizon is always open to talking to anyone. Ellis added that Verizon was "confident" about the businesses it currently owns and its strategy.

The CFO said the Bloomberg story "was a little taken out of context," which had caused confusion overnight. Analysts said early Thursday that some investors took McAdam's comments as a signal that Verizon was actively hunting for a game-changing entertainment deal following rival AT&T's $85.4 billion deal to acquire Time Warner.

“We’re looking at how we execute our strategy," Ellis said in explaining Verizon's strategy. "We’re confident in executing our strategy organically, but if there is the right opportunity out there to accelerate the strategy inorganically in a way that adds shareholder value, we are always looking at those opportunities."

So, would Verizon take a call and have a conversation with a potential deal partner? “Of course we would," said the CFO. "But we are also very confident with the assets we have and the plans we have [for] developing the business in an organic fashion as well, and generating shareholder value." 

In another deal comment Thursday, Ellis said that Verizon expects to close its acquisition of Yahoo's core business later in the current second quarter.