Vodafone shareholders approve Verizon Wireless sale

LONDON Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:05am EST

LONDON Jan 28 (Reuters) - Shareholders in Britain's Vodafone voted on Tuesday to approve the $130 billion sale of its 45 percent stake in the U.S. Verizon Wireless joint venture to majority owner Verizon Communications.

The deal, agreed in September and the third largest in history, had been expected to be approved.

At the meeting 99.76 percent of shareholders voted in favour of approving the deal.

Under the terms, Vodafone will return 71 percent of the net proceeds - or $84 billion including all of the stock - to shareholders. The sale is expected to complete on February 21, with the share consolidation and return of value taking place three days later.

With Vodafone selling out of one of its largest divisions, speculation has mounted that the British firm could itself become a bid target. AT&T, the second largest U.S. operator, said on Monday it would not bid for Vodafone for at least six months, after being forced to make its intentions clear by the takeover panel.

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