Telecoms group Vodafone has been downgraded by ratings agency Standard & Poors (S&P) which said the company is facing tough business conditions in key markets.
The agency said obstacles to Vodafone include “strong sustained competition” and consolidation in the UK market that is likely to leave the firm in the number 3 position.
In addition, S&P said, prospects for increasing fixed-to-mobile convergence could put the company at a competitive disadvantage.
Meanwhile, some of Vodafone’s biggest investors have said they are open to a European tie-up with Liberty Global because it is now in a stronger position to negotiate with John Malone’s group.
Shares in Vodafone shot up last week when the Liberty chairman said a combination would be a “great fit” for his firm.