What You Were Selling Last Week: Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (VOD)

Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD)

LONDON — One of Warren Buffett’s famous investing sayings is “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful” — or, in other words, sell when others are buying and buy when they’re selling.

But we might expect Foolish investors to know that, and looking at what Fools have been selling recently might well provide us with some ideas for investments that are past their prime

So, in this series of articles, we’re going to look at what customers of The Motley Fool ShareDealing Service have been selling in the past week or so, and what might have made them decide to do so.

Six-month high
Less than a month ago, Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (LSE:VOD ) (NASDAQ:VOD ) was at the No. 1 spot in the “Top Ten Buys” list* — so what’s happened to put it at the top of the “Sells” list?

Well, for one thing, its share price hit a six-month high last week, reaching almost 188 pence during March 11, a level not seen since August last year. After the company’s somewhat roller-coaster progress since then — it dipped as low as 154 pence at the end of 2012 — people may have felt inclined to take some profits.

They may also have started having some concerns about Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (LSE:VOD ) (NASDAQ:VOD )’s future. The surge in Vodafone’s price last week came on the back of strong rumors that U.S. telecom leader Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was considering the future of its relationship with the UK..-based telecom giant. Perhaps Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) will buy Vodafone out of its 45% share of Verizon Wireless — currently estimated to be worth around $115 billion (77 billion pounds) — or else there might be a merger which, if it happened, would be the biggest in corporate history. (In reality, Verizon would effectively buy Vodafone, but it’d be called a “merger” to keep everyone happy.)

While selling its stake in Verizon Wireless would give Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (LSE:VOD ) (NASDAQ:VOD ) a considerable lump sum to play with, it would also mean the loss of a generous cash-cow — Verizon Wireless generated a dividend of over $3.8 billion (2.5 billion pounds) for Vodafone at the end of 2012, and $4.5 billion (3 billion pounds) the year before.

And any potential merger would not be without considerable attendant risks. Large corporate mergers and acquisitions have a habit of being deeply disappointing, if not deadly — think AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL)/Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)/Compaq or (and also in the telecoms industry) Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S)/Nextel — with more failing to achieve their financial goals than succeeding. Any short-term gain in Vodafone’s value generated by the excitement of impending nuptials could easily be more than wiped out in the long-term by a failed marriage.

So perhaps some people decided to take some profit now from Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (LSE:VOD ) (NASDAQ:VOD )’s improved share price, on the back of the initial rumors, and then wait and see what happens.

The article What You Were Selling Last Week: Vodafone Group originally appeared on Fool.com.

Jon Wallis owns shares of Vodafone. The Motley Fool recommends Vodafone.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.