Verizon working to buy out Vodafone stake in Verizon Wireless

Verizon Communications (VZ) is close to buying the remaining stake in Verizon Wireless (VZW) from Vodafone Group PLC it does not own for potentially $130 billion, according to people familiar with the talks, in what could be the third-biggest deal of all time.  VZW is the largest U.S. mobile carrier.  For months it has expressed its desire to gain full ownership of the jointly owned wireless network, which is growing fast and generating billions of dollars in free cash flow.

“Verizon Wireless is the crown jewel,” says Chris King, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. “It has been the best performing of all telecom assets in the US.”

Verizon and AT&T already dominate the U.S. telco market.  They have effectively re-constructed the monopoly AT&T had before the divestiture of the Bell System. 


This chart, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, shows the changing world order for U.S. telcos: