Wall Street can't end its love affair with Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless. Usually The Street is pouring over reports that Vodafone is set to sell its 45 percent stake in the U.S. carrier, but the rumor du jour is from the Financial Times: Vodafone is interested in buying out its partner Verizon (not just the wireless carrier)Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â for some $160 billion.
Vodafone issued a two sentence reply regarding the speculation: "Vodafone wishes to make it clear that it has no plans to make such an offer [on Verizon Communications."
FT characterized the potential deal as a "risky and hugely expensive catch-up exercise" for its U.S. market ambitions following its botched takeover of (the original) AT&T Wireless in 2004. Cingular Wireless scooped up that carrier for $41 billion. Other Vodafone-Verizon Wireless articles floating around today include more pressure from an investor group for Vodafone to restructure its 45 percent stake in the U.S. carrier.