US operator Verizon has denied speculation it was preparing a joint bid with AT&T to buy out British mobile phone giant Vodafone and divide up its assets between them. \"As Verizon has said many times, it would be a willing purchaser of the 45 percent stake that Vodafone holds in Verizon Wireless. \"It does not, however, currently have any intention to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others,\" Verizon said in a statement filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Verizon noted press speculation regarding a potential merger with Vodafone. The Wall Street Journal said Vodafone shares rose nearly six percent on the rumors, then dropped 3.4 percent after the denial.