LONDON -- Shares in�Vodafone� (LSE: VOD ) (NASDAQ: VOD ) leaped 6.1%, or 10.30 pence, to reach 178.90 pence in early trade this morning, following news from across the pond that�Verizon Communications� (NYSE: VZ ) is mulling over its options regarding its relationship with the U.K.-based telecommunication group. This could lead either to the U.S. company buying out Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless, or a�tie-up between the two.
Reports from Bloomberg state that representatives from the two Goliaths met as recently as December, at which the option of a full merger was discussed.�With Vodafone valued at 83 billion pounds and Verizon at 90 billion pounds, a combination of the two would form history's�biggest corporate merger.
However, it is believed that talks stalled mainly over�leadership and the location of a new company, which means that a�buyout or partial sale of Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless is more likely, according to sources. Additionally,�a merger would bring with it outside scrutiny concerning�a potential adverse impact on competition.
Verizon's interest in gaining full control of the Verizon Wireless operation is understandable, as�it is its most profitable division.�Vodafone's current 45% share is thought to be valued at around $115 billion, which would inject a considerable cash pile into its coffers should a deal be reached. Discussions are set to resume this year.
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