Verizon, Vodafone boards set to vote on $130 billion wireless deal

Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:17pm EDT
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By Soyoung Kim and Michelle Sierra

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The boards of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc are expected to vote this weekend on a $130 billion deal, funded by about $65 billion of debt, to give the U.S. telecom giant complete ownership of Verizon Wireless, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

A deal, which the sources said could be announced as soon as Monday, would cap Verizon's decade-long effort to win full control of the No. 1 U.S. wireless provider.

At $130 billion, it would be the third-largest corporate acquisition of all time and mark British telecom giant Vodafone's exit from the large but mature U.S. market. Vodafone owns 45 percent of the Verizon Wireless joint venture that was formed in 2000.

Verizon Communications and Vodafone declined to comment.

Verizon plans to pay for half of the purchase with its own stock, the sources said. For the rest, it has tapped JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Plc and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to help raise the funds through a mix of bonds and bank loans, the sources said.

The banks are joint lead arrangers of the financing, with JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley serving as global coordinators, the sources said. The four banks are also advising Verizon, along with former Morgan Stanley banker Paul Taubman and Guggenheim Partners, the sources said.

Taubman, the former co-president of Morgan Stanley's institutional securities business and a top dealmaker, left the Wall Street firm earlier this year after 27 years there.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc and UBS AG are advising Vodafone, the sources said.   Continued...

A sign of Verizon Wireless is seen at its store in Westminster, Colorado April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking