Report: Verizon, Vodafone remain in talks on VZW's fate

Verizon Communications and Vodafone continue to hold discussions about the future of their co-owned venture, Verizon Wireless, according to multiple reports. Nothing has been decided about the largest U.S. carrier and all options appear to still be on the table.

According to a report in Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, those options include combining the two companies, having one company sell its stake in Verizon Wireless to the other, or paying out a dividend to investors. Verizon Communications owns 55 percent of Verizon Wireless, and Vodafone owns the other 45 percent. Verizon has not paid a dividend to Vodafone since 2005, focusing instead on paying down debt--especially from Verizon's $28.1 billion purchase of Alltel.

However, Verizon Wireless is expected to be debt-free by the end of next year, leading some to believe that discussions about the carrier's fate have entered a new stage. According to a report in the Financial Times, which also cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Vodafone's patient approach may give it leverage in negotiations with Verizon. The paper also cited the same three options that Bloomberg did for the future of the venture.

Representatives from Verizon and Vodafone declined to comment.

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said in November that his company needs to work with Verizon on Verizon Wireless, in order to boost Vodafone's share price. "We need to solve the U.S. situation," he said.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this FT article

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