British telecom Vodafone Group this week announced that it has agreed to sell its shares in Verizon Wireless to Verizon for $130 billion. The company currently owns a 45% stake in Verizon, one of the largest mobile carriers in the U.S.
According to Vodafone, $58.9 billion of the transaction will be paid for by Verizon in cash, with $60.2 billion coming in the form of Verizon shares. The rest of the transaction involves $5 billion in Verizon loan notes, a 23% share of Vodafone Italy valued at around $3.5 billion, and $2.5 billion in debt assumed by Verizon. Vodafone shareholders are expected to receive $84 billion from the sale. In addition, Vodafone has announced that it will increase 2014 fiscal year dividends by 8%.
“Our sustained investment in Verizon Wireless has created a great deal of value for shareholders from a market leader with great momentum,” said Gerard Kleisterlee, Vodafone chairman. “Verizon’s offer now provides us with an opportunity to realize this value at an attractive price.
“The transaction will position Vodafone strongly to pursue our leadership strategy in mobile and unified communication services for consumers and enterprises both in our developed markets and across our emerging markets businesses.”
In addition to increased shareholder dividends, Vodafone will use its new cash to implement an investment program it is calling “Project Spring.” The company intends to accelerate its 4G rollout, predicting 90% coverage of its European markets by 2017. 3G coverage will also be extended, as will Vodafone’s fibre initiatives. The company is promising an “upgraded distribution presence” in its markets along with more enterprise offerings and extended mobile payment services.