March 5 Verizon Communications Inc has
weighed several options involving its relationship with Vodafone
Group Plc and its joint ownership of Verizon Wireless
ranging from ending its wireless venture with the European
company, to a full merger between the two companies, according
to a Bloomberg report.
The U.S. and U.K. mobile-phone operators discussed a full
combination as recently as December, Bloomberg reported, citing
people familiar with the situation.
The talks stalled over issues of leadership and location of
a new company, making a buyout or partial sale of Vodafone's
stake in Verizon Wireless more likely, the sources said.
Verizon Communications holds a 55 percent stake in Verizon
Wireless. Vodafone owns the rest.
Vodafone declined to comment. Representatives for Verizon
Wireless and Verizon Communications did not immediately return
calls seeking comment.
Verizon wants to fully control Verizon Wireless because it
is its most profitable division, Bloomberg reported, citing its
Vodafone has embarked on a program to sell assets it did not
control, aiming to streamline its portfolio and return cash to
shareholders who felt the company's share price did not reflect
the sum of its many individual assets.
The report said that no formal discussions of a merger were
currently being held and "deliberations over the sale of
Vodafone's Verizon Wireless stake haven't progressed to
substantial negotiations." Talks on both are likely to restart
again this year, according to Bloomberg's sources.