Vodafone to keep Verizon Wireless stake, for now

Vodafone is going to hold on to its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless for now, but remains open about its options.

Speaking at a conference in Barcelona organized by Morgan Stanley, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said the company remains committed to its stake in Verizon Wireless at the current time, but is always considering its options. For his part, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said in June that he still wanted complete control of the wireless venture, but said he did not expect Vodafone to sell in the near term.

Speculation has swirled around the partnership for some time and reached a fever pitch in the summer of 2007 when Vodafone came under increasing pressure to sell its stake. But Vodafone reiterated its commitment to the venture at that point and flatly said it was not selling. Morgan Stanley analysts have calculated Vodafone's stake--excluding the recent $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltell--to be between $40 billion and $50 billion.

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