Vodafone Verizon deal inches closer

Vodafone put a price on the sale of its 45 per cent share in Verizon Wireless to Verizon in another short statement on Sunday, sizing the deal at $130bn (£83.4bn) in cash and common Verizon stock. While the firm described the talks as “advanced”, and despite reports on Sunday and Monday that the deal is all but done, a formal announcement has yet to be made.

Monday is Labor Day in the US, meaning that financial institutions are closed, but a statement confirming the sale remains widely expected.

Last week Vodafone responded to press reports with the announcement that discussions were ongoing; Verizon has long sought to gain full control of the wireless operation and the fate of Verizon Wireless has been the subject of speculation for the better part of a decade.

If the deal goes ahead as expected, attention will turn to Vodafone’s plans for the huge sum it will collect. It is anticipated that Vodafone will return a substantial amount to its UK shareholders, which have waited a long time for Vodafone’s stake in the US operation to bear fruit.

But Vodafone is also looking to drive in-market consolidation by expanding its multi-play offerings, as it did recently with the acquisition of Kabel Deutschland. Similar moves in other of its European markets may be enabled by the sale of its US assets.

One suggestion is that Vodafone may look to buy international cable operator Liberty Global. There has also been speculation that Vodafone itself may be an acquisition target for Verizon’s largets competitor, AT&T.

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