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As of today, Verizon finally has full control over its wireless future.
British telecom company Vodafone, which has held a 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless since the joint venture’s founding in 1999, announced this morning that Verizon’s $130 billion buyout of its stake will close today. First announced back in September, the transaction is the third-largest corporate deal ever.
The buyout will allow Verizon to make strategic wireless moves without being beholden to a partner, and it gives Vodafone oodles of cash to pay off debts. Vodafone will pay out $82.5 billion worth of shares to its shareholders, which will also cut its market value in half (from $112 billion to $60 billion), reports Bloomberg.
Even though the deal will drop Vodafone from the world’s second-largest wireless carrier to its fourth largest, CEO Vittorio Colao still has expansion plans in mind. But rather than pursue growth by partnering with others, he’s now looking for ways for Vodafone to grow independently.
Verizon will pay Vodafone $58.9 billion in cash, $60.2 billion in common stock, and $5 billion in notes. Additionally, Verizon will sell off its stake in the Vodafone Omnitel venture for $3.5 billion, and it will make up the remaining ~$2.5 billion in other ways.
The deal follows some other major moves in the U.S. wireless arena: T-Mobile purchased MetroPCS for $1.5 billion last year (after a proposed AT&T merger fell through), Sprint sold 78 percent of itself to Japan’s SoftBank for $21.6 billion, and AT&T agreed to purchase Leap Wireless for $1.1 billion.
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