And lo, the Verizon-Vodafone rumor mill rumbles on. Just weeks after Verizon scotched rumors that it was planning a $245 billion takeover of its British counterpart, we have a new report, coming out of Reuters, that suggests Verizon is now preparing to buy out Voda’s share in their joint venture, Verizon Wireless.
Verizon owns 55 percent of the cellular enterprise, and – according to Reuters’s unnamed sources – it now thinks it can pick up the rest for $100 billion, half of which would come from bank financing and half of which would take the form of Verizon’s own shares. The U.S. firm apparently wants amicable discussions with Vodafone over this, but is willing to “take a bid public” if Voda doesn’t play ball.
I’ve asked Voda for comment on this latest notion, and am interested to see how any potential acceptance of the potential offer would overcome the hurdles faced in the past. The problem there, as another unnamed Vodafone investor previously explained, is that a sale of its share would hit Voda with an enormous capital gains tax bill – which is why a merger seemed more attractive.
As those in the U.K. know all too well, Vodafone is allergic to big tax bills, so let’s see how this latest outbreak of whispering pans out in reality.