Vodafone ends Verizon speculation
It's official. After years of speculation, Vodafone has agreed to sell its 45% stake in US mobile operator Verizon Wireless to Verizon for a whopping $130 billion (€98.7 billion).
Verizon will pay $58.9 billion in cash and $60.2 billion in shares to buy out the remainder of its wireless unit, Vodafone announced in a filing.
The balance of $11 billion will be made up by Verizon returning its 23% stake in Vodafone Italy, issuing loan notes and assuming Vodafone's debt liabilities for Verizon Wireless.
AFP notes that this is will be the second largest corporate transaction in history, after Vodafone's $172 billion acquisition of Mannesmann AG in 2000.
While the planned transaction is enormous, it has hardly come as a surprise. Verizon has clearly been eager to assume full control of Verizon Wireless for years, and rumors have periodically surfaced that a buyout is on the way.
Verizon Wireless famously withheld paying a dividend to Vodafone between 2005 and 2011, when it finally agreed to pay Vodafone $4.5 billion and Verizon $5.5 billion.
The latest round of rumors over a possible buyout started in March, and Vodafone last week confirmed that it was in talks with Verizon.
With the transaction now firmly on the record, fresh rumors have emerged regarding the future of Vodafone once it sells its Verizon Wireless state.
A report from Bloomberg, citing insider sources, states that Verizon rival AT&T may seek to buy out the remainder of Vodafone as it pursues acquisitions in Europe. This deal could reportedly be worth around $130 billion itself.