Vodafone chief unsure about changing Verizon ownership -- report

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Vittorio Colao said that he's unsure whether his 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless will be reduced in a year's time.

Vodafone, the European wireless carrier that owns 45 percent of Verizon Wireless, isn't sure if its stake will change in a year's time.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal in an interview published today, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said "I don't know" if it's possible for Vodafone's stake to be changed a year from now, but he's willing to keep an open mind "on everything."

Vodafone and Verizon Wireless combined forces in 2000. Since then, Verizon has watched its star soar and its need for help from Vodafone wane. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said last month that he hopes to buy out Vodafone at some point and take full control over his company.

Getting Vodafone out of the way won't be easy. The company's market capitalization -- a measure of the value of its operation -- stands at $128.2 billion. That means Vodafone owns about $58 billion in value. In order for Verizon to pull off a transaction, the company will likely need to come up with a sum around that figure.

According to the Journal, citing people with knowledge of Verizon's plans, the company is considering buying out Vodafone in a deal that will combine cash and stock. Verizon believes that it could borrow between $50 billion and $60 billion to finance the deal.

Still, the companies have not yet discussed a possible deal.

"For the time being, this has remained the best alternative," Colao said of Vodafone's Verizon Wireless ownership. "That does not mean that in one year's time necessarily it is. But I cannot tell you today, because we are today. We are not in one year's time."

 

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