Verizon CEO says no to Dish spectrum deal, big acquisitions

Tue Dec 4, 2012 10:40am EST

* CEO McAdam sees acquisitions in "tens of millions" range

* Would not buy Dish spectrum if it goes on sale

* Seeing handset sales volume increase in holidays

* Sees launch of internet video service around end Q1

NEW YORK, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications, majority owner of the biggest U.S. mobile service, is not interested in buying spectrum from Dish Network and does not plan to make big acquisitions, its top executive said on Tuesday.

While investors have been speculating that Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen could make a lot of money if he sells the company's wireless spectrum holdings to big U.S. mobile operators, Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam told Reuters at an investor conference that his company would not be a buyer.

McAdam also told the audience at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference that his company is not planning any acquisitions as big as its recent purchases of Terremark and Hughes Telematics.

Verizon bought enterprise service provider Terremark last year for $1.4 billion and completed its purchase of Hughes for $612 million in July. It could do more deals in the software space but these would be smaller transactions, McAdam said.

"It's in the tens of millions kinds of range versus the hundreds of millions kind of range. Right now I don't see the value add of a huge acquisition," McAdam told the conference on Tuesday.

McAdam said Verizon Wireless, the company's venture with Vodafone Group Plc, is seeing strong phone sales in the holiday shopping season that started at the end of November.

He pointed to retailer estimates of sales volumes increases of up to 40 percent on the days after Thanksgiving and said "we saw that kind of improvement."

However, he declined to say how many of those phone sales were upgrades by existing customers or sales to new customers.

The executive said he would provide an estimate in January for the financial impact of damage to its network due to hurricane Sandy which hit the U.S. Northeast in late October.

As a result of the storm, Verizon expects to replace damaged copper phone lines with fiber in places such as lower Manhattan, which would allow it to provide more advanced services such as high-speed Internet and television to customers there.

"Our plan is to take advantage of this disruption," the executive told investors.

The executive said that the company is currently running trials of its planned Internet video service from a partnership with Coinstar Inc unit Redbox and plans to launch the service commercially around the end of the first quarter.