Verizon denies plans to merge with Vodafone

SHARES in Vodafone slumped yesterday, after Verizon Communications’ top executive poured cold water on suggestions that the pair could merge.

Asked about the benefits of merging with Vodafone – its partner in joint venture Verizon Wireless – chief executive Ivan Seidenberg said there would be few benefits to such a deal.

“Absent of new information, a merger doesn’t seem to have a lot of appeal,” he said.

Verizon owns 55 per cent of Verizon Wireless, a US mobile phone network, while Vodafone – run by chief executive Vittorio Colao – owns 45 per cent.

Analysts have long suggested that Verizon could be pressured to pay Vodafone a dividend for its stake in Verizon Wireless as the venture has not paid a dividend since 2005. Once that issue is resolved, analysts say the pair could then merge.

Shares in Vodafone fell by 1.4 per cent to 149.65, against a 0.62 per cent rise for London’s FTSE 100 index.