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Vodafone shareholders want to spin off Verizon Wireless stake

A group of Vodafone Group investors have gotten support from a major U.S. proxy advisory firm to pressure the company to spin off its stake in Verizon Wireless.

A group of investors in Vodafone Group want the European cell phone operator to spin off its stake in U.S.-based Verizon Wireless.

Vodafone owns a 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, which has been adding subscribers rapidly and posting huge profits. Meanwhile, Vodafone's own global cell phone services have come under financial pressures.

A group of investors called ECS Assets, or Efficient Capital Structures, wants to see Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless spun off into a separate tracking stock. The group is getting help and support from the U.S. proxy firm Glass, Lewis & Co.

Right now, it looks as if ECS could have a tough road ahead in convincing enough shareholders that its proposals are a good idea.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that some of Vodafone's major shareholders in the U.K. have spoken out against ECS's proposals. And another large U.S. proxy-advisory firm called Institutional Shareholder Services, a unit of RiskMetrics Group, has recommended voting against all the ECS proposals, the article said.