Verizon strikes $130 billion deal for Vodafone

An illustration made with the logo for Verizon Wireless and the logo of mobile network provider Vodafone. Shares in Vodafone soared today after the company said it was in 'advanced' talks to sell its U.S. wireless joint-venture stake to partner Verizon in a deal worth $130 billion (98.5 billion euros)

Verizon Communications brokered a deal today with Vodafone, valued at $130 billion -- that makes it the second largest acquisition ever.

The deal probably won’t affect Verizon’s 100 million subscribers. Unlike some of the telecom deals we’ve been seeing lately -- like Softbank’s acquisition of Sprint or T-Mobile's acquisition of MetroPCS -- this isn’t a deal that promises to bring more competition to the industry or lower costs for consumers.

For Wall Street, on the other hand, the deal is making a splash. There’s a stock component, with $60 billion or so that Verizon will pay out in stocks. In addition, Verizon has to raise money on the bond market to get the cash to pay Vodafone. The deal is therefore expected to bring a lot of business to all those people on Wall Street who make these types of deals happen.

Right now, Vodafone has a 45 percent stake in Verizon’s wireless business. These are consumers Verizon is already controlling -- but has been splitting the profits with Vodafone.

And this has been problematic for Verizon for a few reasons. Wireless is considered to be Verizon’s biggest area of future growth. But because of the deal, Verizon couldn’t fully claim that growth on its income statement. So for example, the Wall Street Journal says that Verizon made $10.6 billion in 2012 -- but because the bulk of it came from its joint venture with Vodafone -- Verizon could only book a profit $875 million on its income statement.

If the deal gets all the green lights, it could get a great welcome on Wall Street.  Investors will like Verizon's new growth on its income statement.  And  presumably, in the future, Verizon’s wireless business will continue grow and make more money.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the value of the stock component of the deal. It is about $60 billion. The text has been corrected.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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