Verizon Communications Inc (VZ) Closes Deal With Vodafone Group

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As of today, Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) now owns all of Verizon Wireless. Bloomberg reports that the carrier’s bid to buy Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD)’s stake in the joint venture has officially closed.

Verizon buys Vodafone’s 45%

Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) had owned 45% of Verizon Wireless, but the company and its partner Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) announced their deal back in September. The closure of that deal makes it the largest sale of the last 10 years and slashes Vodafone’s size about in half.

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Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) pays out $82.5 billion to shareholders and will consolidate its stock. This will reduce its market value to approximately £60 billion as of next week. The mobile carrier’s previous valuation was £116 billion, which had made it the second largest carrier in the world according to market value. Now Vodafone is the world’s fourth biggest carrier.

Vodafone looks to expand

Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) CEO Vittorio Colao has been removing the company from partnerships and joint ventures which it doesn’t control. Now his next goal will be looking for places where it can grow as it deals with falling services revenue and declining market share in its core European markets.

The mobile carrier will be able to pay off some of its debt using the money it received from Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ). It will also be able to sink £7 billion into its networks through March 2016, expanding its wireless and high speed broadband coverage in its biggest markets.

Telecom consolidation could continue

The company many also look for key acquisitions to fuel growth, with some estimating that it could have between £10 billion and £15 billion to make acquisitions. According to Bloomberg’s sources, Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) is interested in making a bid for Grupo Corporative ONO SA, a cable company based in Spain. It has also reportedly considered buying Fastweb SpA, a fixed-line company located in Italy.

However, Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) itself could turn into an acquisition target. The network’s sources also said AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) may be putting plans in place to take over the company—despite an announcement last month which was aimed at quieting speculations regarding such a merger.