Vodafone sells Verizon Wireless stake for £84bn

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The operator said it will spend £6 billion made from the sale on ‘Project Spring’, aiming to accelerate 4G rollout and expand its unified communications offering

Vodafone has sold its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless to its parent Verizon Communications for $130 billion (£84 billion).

Shareholders in Vodafone will have $84 billion (£54 billion) worth in shares returned to them, while the operator has also said it will invest £6 billion over three financial years in its network and services.

‘Project Spring’ will focus on accelerating Vodafone’s 4G network rollout, so that it covers 90 per cent of its five main European markets by 2017. It will also invest in deeper 3G coverage and capacity in “mature markets”.

A portion of the £6 billion will also be spent on unified communications, with Vodafone extending its fibre rollout and enterprise service portfolio (which includes cloud and machine to machine services).

The project will see Vodafone upgrade its retail and online presence, the company said, adding that it will provide more details in its interim results presentation in November.

Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said: “As a result of the transactions, we will greatly enhance Vodafone’s long-term prospects through Project Spring, our new programme of additional organic investments in 4G, 3G, fibre and broadband, enterprise services and improved customer experience across all of our markets.

“Project Spring will strengthen and accelerate our existing Vodafone 2015 strategy, enabling us to take even greater advantage of the growing global demand for ubiquitous high-speed data. This will in turn underpin our intention to grow the dividend per share annually, in line with our track record of providing shareholders with sustainable and high quality returns.”

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