Will Verizon make a move on Voda?

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Will Verizon make a move on Voda?

Verizon Communications has denied plans to merge or buy out partner Vodafone, responding to reports stating the telco was working with AT&T on a bid for the company. 

The reports said the deal would see Verizon take Vodafone's US assets and AT&T take the rest.

Verizon denied the reports but said it was still a willing buyer of Vodafone's 45 percent share of their Verizon Wireless US venture, in line with previous public statements.

Verizon has said for many years that it would like to buy the rest of Verizon Wireless, the biggest US mobile service, but the companies have never been able to reach an agreement.

Bernstein analyst Robin Bienenstock said in a research note that any deal "other than a merger is unwelcome by Vodafone's management" as management believes that the US market is more attractive than Europe for wireless.

While analysts said they saw benefits from a Verizon purchase of the rest of its wireless venture, they were much more skeptical of the idea that AT&T would want Vodafone's overseas assets in a deal they perceived as highly risky.

Speculation about a potential deal between Verizon and Vodafone has ramped up since January as Vodafone explored what to do with its US asset, which makes up about 75 percent of its value.

The speculation stemmed partly from a valuation gap between Verizon and Vodafone, seen by some analysts as making a deal this year more likely.

Verizon's unwillingness to go ahead with a merger may scupper its chances of buying out Vodafone's Verizon Wireless stake, at least for now, according to some analysts.

Verizon shares closed 0.6 percent higher at $US49.50, while Vodafone shares closed up 2.9 percent at £0.192 in London.

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