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Mobile & Wireless

Verizon pressures Vodafone with dividend threat - report

Friday 3 May 2013 | 11:26 CET | News
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said the operator's priority for cash is paying off debt coming due rather than pay-outs to shareholders. The comments, reported by the Wall Street Journal from an investor meeting, appear aimed at putting pressure on Vodafone to consider Verizon's proposal of selling its 45 percent stake in their joint venture Verizon Wireless. 

Specifically, McAdam said the priority for Verizon Wireless's cash flow will be to pay down the USD 5 billion in debt coming due by mid-2014 before making pay-outs to owners. The comments were reported in a note by JP Morgan Chase analyst Philip Cusick, who hosted the meeting 30 April, and confirmed by a person familiar with the matter to the paper. 

Verizon and Vodafone have clashed frequently in the past over the timing and size of dividends from the joint venture. The US carrier withheld payments for over five years until about two years ago, when Verizon Wireless agreed to distribute USD 10 billion to its two owners. Vodafone declined to comment on the remarks about the payout. 

At the meeting with investors, McAdam said the company remains interested in buying Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless but doesn't believe a premium is warranted. Verizon already controls the venture, and Vodafone's options for selling the stake are limited to selling to Verizon or an IPO, McAdam said. 

The CEO also told investors that the company could look to international investments or acquisitions as another way to provide growth over the long term. Verizon played down the prospect of doing a big acquisition, saying instead that it could look to establish beach heads in ways that take advantage of the company's global internet backbone and data centres around the world.



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Categories: Mobile & Wireless
Companies: Verizon / Verizon Wireless / Vodafone
Countries: United States
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