By Claire West

Vodafone are holding talks to sell its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless.

Vodafone said in a statement: "Vodafone notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is in discussions with Verizon Communications Inc. regarding the possible disposal of Vodafone's US group whose principal asset is its 45% interest in Verizon Wireless.

"There is no certainty that an agreement will be reached."

Warwick Business School Assistant Professor of Strategy Ronald Klingebiel has researched and consulted the telecoms industry for more than a decade and says that:

“The revived discussions about Vodafone selling its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless indicate an increasing focus on the European market. Both the US and European telecommunication markets stand to face some tough competition with the increasing move towards converged triple-play offers. To weather these impending storms, Vodafone is right to sell the stake so it can concentrate on its priority markets in Europe.

“The proceeds from the sale, if not passed on in forms of dividends, could improve its debt position following the recent Cable & Wireless and Kabel Deutschland deals, and provides Vodafone some leeway to further expand its network presence in Europe. Such moves provide the capacity and level of integration necessary for competing effectively in a future pan-European market.”