Verizon Communications has announced that it has received the approvals needed from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to acquire UK-based Vodafone’s US business – which includes the principal asset of 45% of Verizon Wireless.
As part of the USD130 billion transaction, Verizon will distribute Verizon stock to Vodafone’s shareholders. The declaratory ruling issued by the FCC’s International Bureau permits Verizon, post-transaction, to have aggregate foreign ownership in excess of the current 25% benchmark. None of the non-US shareholders will hold a greater than 5% interest, or a controlling interest, in the outstanding Verizon shares.
Randal Milch, Verizon’s executive vice president (public policy and general counsel), commented: ‘We thank the FCC for its quick action in approving our transaction with Vodafone, which will provide Verizon with 100% ownership of Verizon Wireless and a boost to one of the most important sectors of the US economy. This application approval also marks the first use of the streamlined foreign-ownership review procedures that the FCC adopted earlier this year, and we are grateful to the commission for its commitment to process reforms that benefit wireless carriers and the customers we serve’.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.