Verizon Communications Inc. is close to putting in motion long-awaited plans to shed its directory business, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company is days away from filing papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that would allow Verizon to spin off the division should it decide to do that, the Journal said, according to its sources.

The telephone company hasn't decided what route to take, either a spin-off or a sale, but starting the paperwork with the SEC would allow a transaction to be completed by year-end, the sources told the newspaper.

Verizon may consider a sale, but a solid buyer has yet to emerge, the people said.

A spin-off, which could be valued at as much as $13 billion, is appealing to Verizon because it could be done tax-free, unlike a sale, the Journal said.

Also, some of Verizon's $38 billion debt load might be shifted to the new directories company, it said.