Vodafone may dump Verizon Wireless stake

Jan 23 2006 - 12:12 PM ET | Rumor, Verizon Wireless

Several of Vodafone's ten largest shareholders are demanding the company sells its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless and use the cash to improve the balance sheet. The Times Online reports that investors are frustrated that Verizon Wireless is independent of Vodafone's management, doesn't pay dividends and uses a different network technology (CDMA instead of GSM).

Vodafone said it would be wrong to sell Verizon when it was still growing strongly in a country where mobile usage remains under 70%, and Verizon also stood to benefit from market consolidation that has reduced the number of national mobile carriers from six to four in the past two years.

But investors complain they are receiving no benefit from the growing value of the American business. Some believe Vodafone should capitalise on the high price that Verizon Wireless would fetch, and sell its minority stake to its joint- venture partner, Verizon Communications.

It's estimated that Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless is worth $44.6 billion. The last time we covered a rumor that Vodafone was going to sell off its Verizon stake was when Vodafone was trying to buy AT&T Wireless nearly two years ago.