Yesterday Vodafone reported that it was no longer talking to Liberty Global about an asset swap and many analysts called it a mistake. I have always seen it as a foregone conclusion, Liberty Global wants to exit Europe it has very little of interest to Vodafone and the pricing was always out of sync.
Earlier Malone had said that no deal was likely to happen with Vodafone as despite an investor roadshow pitching the "benefits" of such a deal to stockholders he had been unable to convince Executive inside Vodafone that a deal made sense and the price was right.
What has been a surprise to me is the rent a quote brigade who are all happy to say that it was an error on Vodafone's behalf. Telecoms in Europe is a marginal one when it comes to profitability and more customers does not necessarily mean that the odds are better for success. Investments are high and prices are falling, this could explain why Liberty wishes to exit before it can no longer pay debts, and competition is intense. Vodafone under Colao has not been about market share at any price rather it is about effective management of assets and seeking to maintain margins. Thus taking on Liberty's properties in Holland and Germany was not going to survive an introductory discussion.