Verizon Communications now owns its mobile business outright after closing its acquisition of Vodafone Group’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless.
Verizon paid about US$130 billion in cash and stock for the minority stake, giving it 100 percent ownership of the largest U.S. mobile operator. The initial agreement between the companies was announced last September.
While rival AT&T has fully owned its mobile business for years, Verizon had been running Verizon Wireless as a joint venture with the London-based Vodafone. It will now get both full control of the mobile business and full access to its profits: The buyout will immediately add about 10 percent to Verizon’s earnings per share, excluding adjustments, the company said Friday. Verizon Wireless reported 81 billion in operating revenue in 2013.
The deal may also lead to integrated wired and wireless services, though Verizon has been vague on that point. In September, the company said the buyout would enhance its ability to offer “seamless and integrated services.” Combining the wired and wireless services will also make Verizon more efficient and give it more financial flexibility, the company said.
Verizon had tried for years to buy back Vodafone’s stake. With its windfall from the sale, Vodafone is likely to buy companies in Europe, possibly including cable operators, industry analysts say.
At the same time, there had been reports that AT&T might buy out Vodafone. Last month, AT&T said it didn’t intend to bid for the British company in the next six months but those plans might change if a rival bidder emerged.