Verizon and Vodafone Seal $130 Billion Deal for Stake in U.S. Mobile Wireless Industry
Verizon Wireless is set to pay $130 billion to Vodafone to buy out that companyís stake in their joint venture in what is the second-largest acquisition in history. This leaves Americaís largest carrier in full control of its operations. The massive agreement will see Verizon paying Vodafone $60.2 billion in stock, 58.9 billion in cash and the remaining $10 billion in other considerations. It is second in size only to the $172 billion acquisition of Mannesmann AG in 1999. Total fees for the firms advising on the deal and aiding in the logistics could go as high as $600 million, according to The Wall Street Journal
Observers note that despite the size of the deal, U.S. Verizon customers will likely see very few effects. Instead, the dealís main impact will be on the bottom lines of both Verizon and Vodafone. Verizon will get to keep more of its revenue, something it hasnít been able to do due to the sizable portion that went to Vodafone under the shared ownership agreement. In 2012, Verizon ended up pulling in $10.6 billion in net income but booked only $875 million of that as Verizon profit, as $9.7 billion went to joint venture partners.
On the other hand, Vodafone will come out of the deal with a hefty load of cash. This move is something that will help the firm cushion the loss of Verizonís profit and also turn an eye toward other markets. Reportedly, Vodafone is looking to acquire Kabel Deutschland, Germanyís largest cable operator for $10 billion. Over the next few years, though Vodafone is also set to invest roughly $9.3 billion in its own networks and services, it will also return $84 billion to shareholders including all of the Verizon stock it gets in the deal as well as $23.9 billion in cash.
Verizon will fund the deal in part by taking on a considerable amount of debt. The carrier could potentially make a bond offering to cover between $20 and $30 billion of the deal. Such an offering could become the largest of its kind in its history, outstripping even Appleís own historic offering made earlier this year in order to facilitate a $100 billion capital rewards program. Verizon could look to repay the debt load within just a few year, though as having such a figure weighing on the bottom line could prove dangerous should the economy take a turn for the worse.
The deal will likely mark an even sharper focus on Verizonís wireless operations going forward as this segment of the company generated two-thirds of Verizonís $116 billion in revenue for the last year. Appleís iPhone regularly accounts for a significant portion of Verizonís revenue as the bestselling smartphone made up 51% of the carrierís lucrative smartphone activations in the most recent quarter.
As of right now, the tax price associated with the deal will reportedly reach a whopping $5 billion. The transaction is not expected to see much in the way of antitrust resistance, given that Verizon already controls the joint venture. It is still subject to approval from both companiesí shareholders, the European Unionís merger clearance bodies and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. According to Verizon, the deal should be completed in the first quarter of 2014.
Source: The Wall Street Journal