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Verizon plays down Wireless deal talk


The CEO of Verizon Communications said there has been no change in its relationship with Vodafone Group, following speculation it was (again) eyeing its partner’s stake in US number-one operator Verizon Wireless.

Speaking to Reuters at CES 2013, Lowell McAdam said there are no discussions about such a deal, following his earlier comments that a takeover of the wireless division was “feasible”.

McAdam said his comments didn’t mean Verizon was any more likely to buy Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless than it was before. “It’s been feasible for 10 years. There’s nothing that’s changed,” he said.

Verizon has long said it would be interested in buying the stake if Vodafone was willing to sell it. The Verizon boss told the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that as Verizon’s fixed business is getting stronger it is now in a financial position to buy-out Vodafone from the joint venture.

“We have always said we would love to own all of that asset,” he said.

Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless could be worth as much as $100 billion.

Verizon Wireless announced in November that it would pay an US$8.5 billion dividend to its owners by the end of 2012. This followed the US$10 billion payment made last January, which was the first dividend to be paid for several years as the company focused on paying down its debt between 2005 and 2012.

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