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Rumor: Verizon, Vodafone in merger, buyout discussions

updated 12:07 pm EST, Wed March 6, 2013

Verizon may buy out $115B Vodafone stake in Verizon Wireless

Mirroring earlier talks between the carriers, Verizon and Vodafone are reportedly looking for ways to "resolve" their relationship in the jointly-owned carrier Verizon Wireless. It is claimed that the two companies are in discussions to either fully merge the two entities or for Verizon to partly or fully buy out Vodafone's 45-percent stake in Verizon Wireless, before the end of this year.

Unnamed sources of Bloomberg claim the two carriers were disagreeing over leadership matters and the location of a new headquarters as recently as December. Given the possible outcomes, the sources suggest that a full or partial buyout of Vodafone's stake is the most likely outcome, something that could end up costing Verizon as much as $115 billion.

A total buyout of Vodafone's stake would give Verizon complete control over the carrier, the company's most profitable section. The funds received by Vodafone could in theory be used to take over other European carriers rather than be part-owners. Vodafone has been lowering the number of its part-ownership investments in other carriers in recent years, including SFR in France and other Asian and Polish networks, but holding onto those where it owns the company outright. A $100 billion warchest would certainly help the company to buyout other shareholders in other networks, though it could also be returned to the shareholders of the UK-based carrier.

The report sources claim that though the talks have stalled for either option, they are likely to restart again this year.

by MacNN Staff



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