A pedestrian checks his smartphone as he passes the entrance to a Vodafone Group Plc retail store in London, U.K. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Vodafone Surges on Report Activist Elliott Took Stake in Carrier

(Bloomberg) -- Vodafone Group Plc rose the most in almost six months after DealReporter said U.S. activist investor Elliott Management Corp. has taken a new stake in the world’s second-largest mobile carrier.

The stock rose as much as 4.1 percent, the most intraday since Feb. 2, and advanced 3.4 percent to 186.08 pounds at 3:43 p.m. in London.

Elliott Advisors, the European arm of New York-based Elliott Management, first approached Vodafone several weeks ago and has held conversations with management and at least one board member, DealReporter said, citing unidentified sources familiar with the situation. Elliott is pressing for changes at the carrier, DealReporter said, without specifying. The size of the stake isn’t known but is significant, according to the report.

Representatives for Vodafone and Elliott declined to comment.

A decline in European quarterly sales that Vodafone reported last week has piled pressure on incoming Chief Executive Officer Nick Read to confront mounting competition in southern Europe and make a success of its $22 billion takeover of Liberty Global Plc’s German and eastern European businesses.

Vodafone has gone from being a challenger to Europe’s former telecom monopolies to part of an industry establishment under assault from new entrants offering simple, pared-down subscriptions.

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