Vodafone Shares Hit 14-Year High After Malone Eyes Assets

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Vodafone Group Plc shares hit their highest level in more than 14 years Friday, days after Liberty Global Plc’s John Malone said a combination with the mobile phone operator would be attractive.

The shares rose 4.6 percent to 253.75 pence in London trading Friday, the highest since December 2000, according to data from the London Stock Exchange.

Malone told Bloomberg News on Tuesday that his cable empire’s assets in western Europe would be a “great fit” with Vodafone, sending shares of both companies up this week. The shares have gained 12 percent since Wednesday, the biggest three-day gain in almost two years.

Vodafone “is willing to consider both acquisitions and disposals where the financial rationale makes sense,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Tim Boddy said in a note Thursday after meeting with Vodafone’s management.

Vodafone “may be more likely a seller than a buyer of assets” given Liberty’s preference for a tax-efficient capital structure and Vodafone’s contrasting preference for dividends, said Boddy, who recommends investors buy the shares.

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