Verizon close to $130 billion deal for Vodafone stake: Bloomberg
(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc is in advanced talks to buy Vodafone Group Plc's 45 percent stake in their U.S. joint venture for about $130 billion, Bloomberg reported late on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
Verizon is working with several banks to raise $10 billion from each to finance about $60 billion of the deal and an announcement could come as soon as September 2, two of the people told Bloomberg. (link.reuters.com/raz62v)
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that the companies have restarted talks but it was not immediately clear whether they had resolved disagreements over price or whether Verizon has put forward a specific offer. (link.reuters.com/saz62v)
Reuters reported first in April that Verizon had hired advisers for a possible $100 billion bid and was contemplating a roughly 50:50 cash and stock offer for the 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless it does not already own.
At the time, most analysts said the roughly $100 billion figure contemplated by Verizon was too low and that the value of the Vodafone holding was nearer $120 billion.
The Journal said significant shifts in financial markets, such as rising interest rates as well as changes in the U.S. cellphone business had brought the two sides closer together.
A Verizon spokesman declined to comment on the Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal reports, while Vodafone was unavailable for comment outside regular business hours.
Vodafone Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said last month the company would seriously consider any offer for its stake in Verizon Wireless if it offered more value to investors than the current status quo.
(Reporting by Avik Das and Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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