Verizon Communications is open to merger possibilities to reset the course of the company given the fast-changing structure of the industry, and would consider talks with Comcast, Walt Disney, or CBS, said chief executive Lowell McAdam.
The largest US wireless carrier is struggling with the challenges of a mature, hypercompetitive consumer business and has yet to gain traction on its mobile media and advertising venture. Verizon is building a fiber-optic network to handle a deluge of video streaming and ultra-fast 5G technology and would consider a deal with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts if it gets them there faster.
‘‘If Brian came knocking on the door, I’d have a discussion with him about it,’’ McAdam said. ‘‘Given what I know about architecture, financial requirement, cultural fit, there’s never a dream deal,’’ McAdam said in an interview Tuesday at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. Comcast has the best fiber assets and a compelling media business with NBC Universal. But McAdam is willing to entertain a wide range of options; he said he would take that same call from Disney’s Bob Iger or CBS’s Les Moonves.
Shares of all three potential merger companions rose on McAdam’s comments. Comcast climbed 1.6 percent, CBS rose 2 percent, and Disney advanced 0.9 percent.
Traditional industry boundaries are shifting as AT&T awaits approval for its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., a deal that would combine a telecommunications giant with one of the world’s largest media companies. With a potentially more lenient regulatory environment under the Trump administration, and a mandated airwaves-auction quiet period lifting later this month, an era of deal talk is expected to kick off.