AT&T CEO: met European officials, NSA affair affecting business

NEW YORK Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:52pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 28 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson met with several European officials last week to discuss the U.S. spying scandal, which is affecting the telecommunications company's business, he said on Tuesday.

Some European reports had speculated that Stephenson's meetings in Europe were focused on AT&T ambitions to buy Vodafone Group Plc.

Stephenson declined to comment on mergers and acquisitions beyond a statement AT&T made on Monday that it did not intend to bid for Vodafone.

But he commented on the effect on his company's business after former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden exposed widespread surveillance by the National Security Agency.

"We've had some business impacts from the NSA," he told investors during the company's quarterly earnings call. "Its affecting our ongoing business today irrespective of anything that might relate to M&A."

Stephenson said he met with several policy and administration officials in Europe.

AT&T said on Monday that its statement, which followed months of speculation about a possible takeover offer for Vodafone by the U.S. company, came in response to a request from the British government.

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