WRAPUP 4-Verizon, Vodafone agree $130 bln Wireless deal

Mon Sep 2, 2013 6:19pm EDT
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* Verizon to buy Vodafone's 45 pct of Verizon Wireless

* Ends decade-long standoff between both companies

* Vodafone to return 71 percent, or $84 billion, to shareholders

* Will be third-largest announced deal of all-time

By Kate Holton and Sinead Carew

LONDON/SAN DIEGO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications agreed on Monday to pay $130 billion to buy Vodafone Group out of its U.S. wireless business, signing history's third largest corporate deal announcement to bring an end to an often tense 14-year marriage.

The deal in cash and stock will give Verizon full access to the profits from the United States' largest mobile operator, handing it fresh firepower to invest in its mobile network and fend off challengers in a tough market that is fast becoming even more competitive.

For the British group, the accord will allow it to return 71 percent of the net proceeds - or $84 billion including all of the stock - to shareholders while also ramping up investment in its networks to set itself apart from rivals.

The deal, in which Verizon will buy Vodafone's 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, is the defining event in the careers of Vittorio Colao and Lowell McAdam, the chief executives of Vodafone and Verizon, respectively. They had succeeded in rebuilding relations between the two sides, long strained by clashes about the Wireless dividend and who would eventually seize full ownership.   Continued...