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Sarin says U.S. presence not necessarily required for Vodafone

LONDON-Failing to capture U.S.-based operator AT&T Wireless Services Inc. during a heated auction earlier this week, Vodafone Group plc chief executive Arun Sarin told analysts the company’s future did not have to include a presence in the United States calling into question whether the European giant was looking to sell its 45-percent interest in Verizon Wireless.

“Every asset has a price,” Sarin said. “We’re not conceptually opposed to not being in the U.S.”

Sarin added that if Verizon Communications Inc., which owns the other 55 percent of Verizon Wireless, were to make an offer for Vodafone’s minority interest, the company would back out of the venture and reinvest in its European operations.

Vodafone has a $20 billion put options on its Verizon Wireless stake that if exercised would force Verizon Communications to purchase its share of Verizon Wireless.

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