In a move that surprised exactly zero analysts, Vodafone Group plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) shareholders overwhelmingly approved the company’s sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless today. With the vote, barring no unforeseen regulatory issues, one of the largest acquisitions in corporate history continues to move forward.
Details of the sale
The sale of its stake to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) will total $130 billion with shareholders realizing a return of nearly $85 billion. According to Vodafone Group plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) ‘s website, this represents the single largest return of value to shareholders in the history of financial markets. The website was also the first source to confirm the gleeful voting of shareholders.
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Vodafone Group plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) announced its intent to sell back its stake in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) nearly a year ago. The company, one of the world’s largest wireless providers, with the sale will effectively be selling Verizon complete ownership of its company in addition to the stock transfer. Verizon presently has nearly 100 million subscribers in the United States.
The deal will consist of $58.9 billion in cash and $60.2 billion in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) stock. Further details of the transaction were expected and have now been promised by the company when Vodafone reports its quarterly earnings next week.
“Our sustained investment in Verizon Wireless has created a great deal of value for shareholders from a market leader with great momentum,” Gerard Kleisterlee, Vodafone Group plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) ’s chairman, said in a statement last fall. “Verizon’s offer now provides us with an opportunity to realize this value at an attractive price.”
What’s next for Vodafone?
The move does leave some questions for what comes next for Vodafone Group plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) as the European telecommunications industry is continuing its consolidation based on uncertainty over future regulations. Additionally, yesterday say AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) announce that it was not in rumored discussions to buy the European giant Vodafone.
Vodafone Group plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) is presently trading at $37.07 up $0.47 or 1.3% in trading today as of this writing.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is nearly unchanged at $47.50 down $0.20 or 0.4% on the day.