Verizon Communications is said to be moving closer to buying Vodafone Group out of the companies' Verizon Wireless joint venture. Analysts and bankers say that would provide Vodafone with plenty of cash to expand -- perhaps buying more fixed-line and cable assets -- as well as give AT&T an opening to enter the European wireless market, even making a possible move for Vodafone. Verizon's board of directors reportedly is due to meet within a week to discuss the next move amid reports the carrier is looking to line up $50 billion in financing to complete the deal.

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