Vodafone has sold its stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $130 billion (£84 billion) in cash and stock.
The deal is expected to be finalised in Q1 2014 and gives US telecoms company Verizon 100 per cent ownership of the wireless carrier in the US.
Vodafone says it will return £54 billion to its shareholders, of which £22 billion will go to shareholders in the UK, reports the BBC.
Vodafone has outlined a £6 billion investment plan called Project Spring, which will grow its 4G networks and increase investment in laying fibre optic cables.
By 2017 it plans to have almost complete 4G network coverage in its five main European markets.
Vittorio Colao, Vodafone Group CEO, said: “This transaction allows both Vodafone and Verizon to execute on their long-term strategic objectives. Our two companies have had a long and successful partnership and have grown Verizon Wireless into a market leader with great momentum. We wish Lowell and the Verizon team continuing success over the years ahead.”
Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO, commented: “Verizon Wireless is the greatest wireless company in the world, and a big part of this success was due to the hard work of both partners, Vodafone and Verizon. The timing was right to execute a transaction that benefits both companies and their shareholders. Today’s announcement is a major milestone for Verizon, and we look forward to having full ownership of the industry leader in network performance, profitability and cash flow.”
Verizon also announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of 53 cents per outstanding share, an increase of 2.9 per cent from the previous quarter.