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Vodafone sells stake in Verizon wireless for $130 billion

In what is the second-largest acquisition deal on record, Verizon will now wholly own the biggest mobile operator in the US.

Image: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

US COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY Verizon will own its wireless business outright after agreeing to a $130 billion deal to buy the 45 per cent stake of Verizon Wireless owned by UK operator Vodafone.

The buyout, the second-largest acquisition deal on record, would give Vodafone additional cash to pursue its expansion ambitions in Europe. It would also give Verizon the opportunity to boost its quarterly earnings, as it would no longer have to share a portion of the proceeds from the number one mobile carrier in the US.

The deal isn’t expected to have much of an effect on Verizon consumers or on the company’s operations. Vodafone had little influence on Verizon Wireless’ day-to-day operations, and the two companies have kept out of each other’s territory.

The Verizon-Vodafone partnership started in 2000 when what was then Bell Atlantic combined its wireless network on the US east coast with Vodafone’s operations on the west coast. Vodafone had entered the US market a year earlier by outbidding Bell Atlantic to buy AirTouch Communications of San Francisco.

Verizon has had a long-standing interest in buying out its partner, but the two companies hadn’t agreed on a price until now. Analysts said Verizon wanted to pay around $100 billion for Vodafone’s stake, while reports suggested that Vodafone was pressing for the $130 billion.

The largest deal on record is Vodafone’s $172 billion acquisition of Mannesmann AG in 2000, according to research firm Dealogic. Verizon’s buyout of Vodafone should be completed in the first quarter of 2014, the companies said.
Vodafone is already one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and has its sights set on dominating media services in Europe, its biggest market. The company is making a takeover bid for Germany’s biggest cable operator, Kabel Deutschland.

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Associated Press

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