Goldman Sachs on Vodafone
Vodafone shares jump after Goldman Sachs says asset sales more likely Reuters

Shares in Vodafone Group jumped on 22 May after Goldman Sachs said the British firm could sell some assets, days after Liberty Global's John Malone said a combination with the phone service provider will be attractive.

Shares in the mobile phone operator were trading 4.47% higher at 10.26am in London, after surging nearly 5.6% earlier on Friday. The stock has gained some 14.63% so far this year.

Vodafone "is willing to consider both acquisitions and disposals where the financial rationale makes sense," Goldman analyst Tim Boddy said in a 21 May note to clients 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 recommended that investors buy the shares.

Billionaire Malone, on 19 May, told Bloomberg that his cable empire's assets in western Europe will be a "great fit" with Vodafone.

Q1 results

Vodafone saw its sales rise for the first-quarter in three years as more UK and European customers opted for its 4G service.

Group revenue for Vodafone was up by 10.1% to £42.2bn with sales up 0.1% in the final quarter of its financial year – the first time in 10 quarters that the world's second-largest service provider has been able to report sales growth.

The company was buoyed in uptake of its 4G service and is now able to boast 20.2 million receivers across 18 markets within Europe – an increase of 81% over the course of the year.

However, that was not enough to save the telecommunications giant from a steep drop in operating profit, which fell by 18.6% to £1.97bn.