AT&T has moved to quash speculation that it will make an imminent takeover approach for Vodafone.

The US operator had been linked with a possible deal after CEO Randall Stephenson said there was a "huge opportunity" to invest in mobile broadband in Europe.

However, in a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning AT&T said: “At the request of the UK Takeover Panel, AT&T confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Vodafone.”

The rules of the UK’s Takeover Code state that AT&T is not able to make a bid for six months from the date of the announcement, leaving open the possibility that it could return with an offer from August.

Vodafone’s latest financial results, released last November, showed that revenues grew by 1.2 percent for the six months ended 30 September.

The company is cash rich after selling its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless and has promised to invest heavily in network infrastructure.

AT&T is looking to expand after a failed bid for T-Mobile USA last year. The operator has also been linked with another UK operator, EE.

The news comes at a time of anticipated consolidation in the European telecoms sector.

Earlier this month, America Movil has upped its stake in Telekom Austria after reorganising its holdings in the European operator. The Carlos Slim-controlled Latin American operator now holds 26.8 percent after upping its stake by 3.1 percent.

According to Mergermarket’s latest Global M&A trend report, Europe will be “the latest frontier for growth” this year.  

Another M&A report from ratings agency Moody’s found that a wave of cross-border consolidation is unlikely to happen this year.

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