Vodafone sees Verizon deal finalized around early March

NEW YORK Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:39pm EST

The Droid Mini, Droid Ultra and Droid Maxx are seen on display during the Verizon Wireless media event in New York July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The Droid Mini, Droid Ultra and Droid Maxx are seen on display during the Verizon Wireless media event in New York July 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L) expects to close the $130 billion sale of its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications (VZ.N) and that shareholders will have received the proceeds of the deal by early March in line with the companies' target for a first quarter close.

The companies announced a cash and stock deal on September 2 after Verizon, which already controls Verizon Wireless, tried for roughly a decade to buy the Vodafone stake.

While Vodafone noted that some dates could be subject to change, it said in a timetable posted online on Tuesday that the transaction is expected to be completed in late February after which it aims for cash payments to be made to its shareholders for the deal on March 4.

Shareholders of both Vodafone and Verizon, already the majority owner of Verizon Wireless, are expected to vote on the deal roughly a month before on January 28. Verizon said on December 4 that it had won approval for the deal from U.S. regulators.

Vodafone has said it would return about $84 billion, or about 71 percent of the net proceeds of the deal, to its shareholders and use the rest to invest in its network.

Verizon has said that it hopes full ownership of the No. 1 U.S. wireless service provider will give it more flexibility and opportunities to integrate the business with its wired network.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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