One of the most often-rumored acquisitions in the mobile sector could finally be coming to pass.
UK mobile giant Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) confirmed Thursday that it is in talks with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) about selling its stake in the number one U.S. wireless operator, Verizon Wireless , to its American majority owner. Vodafone currently holds a 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless.
If the talks come to fruition, a Verizon Wireless buyout would be one of the largest mergers and acquisitions deals in U.S. mobile history. The sums involved are expected to top $100 billion. (See Euronews: VOD Rises on Verizon Buyout Chat.)
Speculation about a Vodafone sell-off of its stake was rekindled this spring and continued since. (See Verizon Could Pay VOD $130B+ for Wireless Stake.)
Verizon has never made a secret of its desire to have full control of the wireless operation. Speculation about a buyout began not too many years after the partnership was first agreed on in 1999. (See Vodafone Hangs On to Verizon Stake.)
Vodafone has so far preferred to maintain its stake in the massive US wireless provider. The group frequently sees fat dividends from its US operator partnership. (See Euronews: Verizon Stake Pays Off for Vodafone.)
Vodafone could reportedly be looking for up to $130 billion for its Verizon Wireless stake. (See Euronews: Verizon's VOD Bid May Fall Short.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading