TORONTO (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc is not planning to enter the Canadian wireless market, its chief executive said in an interview on Monday that is likely to support shares of the country's largest mobile phone providers.
A Verizon spokesman confirmed comments that CEO Lowell McAdam made in an interview with Bloomberg that the largest U.S. mobile operator does not have an interest in entering Canada.
"Verizon is not going to Canada," the story quoted McAdam as saying, adding that speculation about its possible entry was "way overblown".
McAdam said in the Bloomberg interview that Verizon had limited interest in the Canadian market before it agreed on Monday to pay $130 billion to buy Vodafone Group out of its U.S. wireless business - and none now.
Verizon will buy Vodafone's 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless in the third largest corporate takeover in history.
Shares of Canada's three biggest telecom companies - BCE Inc, Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp - tumbled in late June on reports Verizon was looking at entering the market by buying one or more of the country's wireless start ups.
But the stocks did gain on early reports of the Verizon-Vodafone deal, which many analysts believed would delay or scupper an entry into Canada.
The three established Canadian players responded to the possibility of Verizon's entry by launching a massive public relations campaign against government rules they said would unfairly favor Verizon.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew and Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Bernard Orr)