Despite ruling itself out of an immediate bid for UK network Vodafone this week, US giant AT&T maintains an interest in acquiring the company, according to reports on Wednesday.

AT&T made a statement on Monday denying it planned to pick up Vodafone, following rumours it had already approached European regulators.

That statement, which was required under UK stock market laws aimed at curbing undue merger speculation, means no bid can be made in the next six months.

However, according to Bloomberg's sources, AT&T could go in for Vodafone later this year, once the legally binding denial expires.

Rebound

According to the report, AT&T could even bid sooner if Vodafone's board decides to play nice.

Speculation of an AT&T bid came soon after Vodafone sold its 50% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Wireless for a cool $130 billion (around £79 billion).

For its part, AT&T has long expressed an interest in capitalising on the European market, and snapping up a network that has been deep within the enemy's camp probably wouldn't hurt its domestic prospects either.