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Verizon CEO Blames Press for Hyping Up Canadian Expansion Plans

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After crushing the hearts of many Canadians yesterday when news broke Verizon was not interested in Canada anymore, CEO Lowell McAdam said today the press was to blame for creating more buzz than what was actually happening in reality, during a Tuesday morning conference call, reports the Globe and Mail:

“Look, I just have to say that the press made a lot more of our interest in Canada than there was on the fourth floor of Basking Ridge,” Mr. McAdam said on a conference call with analysts, making reference to Verizon Wireless’s headquarters in New Jersey.

“You know, it is something that we look at. We look at a lot of different countries around the world. We’ll continue to do that but it was always on the fringe for us. And as [chief financial officer] Fran [Shammo] and I have looked at opportunities to push the one Verizon that I talked about before, those are much better returns for our shareholders than going into Canada. So, we never really seriously looked at this – I mean, we looked at it but we never seriously considered the move. And it’s off the table at this point.”

The announcement yesterday came after Verizon confirmed it had bought out Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion.

The news of Verizon bowing out of Canada has confused telecom analysts which predicted the company was heading our way. Greg MacDonald, a telecom analyst with Macquarie Capital Markets Canada, issued the following note to clients today:

“Lowell McAdam’s comments last night that Verizon is not coming to Canada were very surprising to us (obviously, for those who follow our research). We continue to base our opinions on the facts more than the comments and a $700-million offer for Wind was always the swing factor for us proving interest,”

“That said, we see no reason for McAdam to make these comments if not true since there is no bluff benefit to the company at this point. Therefore, we will be clear in our change of heart on this issue – the probability of Verizon entering Canada is now very low in our view.”

Back in June, The Globe and Mail first reported Verizon was interested in entering the Canadian market by acquiring WIND Mobile, corroborating earlier speculation in March from a report by The Huffington Post. Once news broke, Rogers, Telus and Bell shortly afterwards launched their ‘Fair for Canada’ campaign urging Canadians to pressure Ottawa to reverse its wireless rules, which they believed favoured Verizon.

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