September 3, 2014 / 3:11 AM / in 3 years

UPDATE 2-Vodafone shares turn higher on Softbank report -traders

(Adds SoftBank no comment and share price; detail on Nikkei Business Daily report)

LONDON/TOKYO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Vodafone Group PLC shares turned higher late on Tuesday, with traders citing a Nikkei report suggesting the British mobile operator may become a takeover target for Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank Corp .

A Vodafone spokesman said the company had no comment. A SoftBank spokeswoman also declined to comment.

Vodafone shares closed up 1.1 percent at 208.90 pence, having traded as low as 205.50 pence earlier on Tuesday.

SoftBank shares were unchanged at 7,542 yen in Wednesday morning trade in Tokyo, compared with a 0.8 percent rise in Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei average.

A Monday story in the Japanese-language Nikkei Business Daily on possible SoftBank acquisition targets quoted an unidentified executive as acknowledging that a Vodafone acquisition was the type of bold move that SoftBank’s acquisitive CEO Masayoshi Son might consider.

“Oh, a Vodafone acquisition! That’s just the sort of thing that someone like our CEO might do. Among other things, it’s a company we’re familiar with,” it quoted the executive as saying.

The article also said there were views that SoftBank would take another stab at acquiring T-Mobile US Inc. The Japanese company’s U.S. carrier, Sprint Corp, dropped a bid to acquire T-Mobile after U.S. regulators showed no sign of softening their resistance to a deal, although a SoftBank executive did not rule out the possibility of a future bid. (Reporting by Francesco Canepa, Sudip Kar-Gupta and Vikram Subhedar in London; Additional reporting by Teppei Kasai in Tokyo; Editing by David Clarke and Matt Driskill)

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