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Vodafone gets surprise £2.1bn dividend from Verizon Wireless

Trebles all round in Newbury tonight

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US cell network Verizon Wireless will pay out a shareholder dividend this year - and as there are only two shareholders, the $7bn (£4.5bn) divvy will be split between, er, Verizon and Vodafone.

That means Voda - headquartered in Newbury, UK - will take home $3.15bn (£2.1bn).

Vodafone owns 45 per cent of Verizon Wireless - the largest US mobile operator - and the rest belongs to telco goliath Verizon Communications Inc, which will slurp up $3.85bn (£2.5bn) from this dividend payment. The US mobile giant is rumoured to be interested in buying out its joint-venture's tax-lite Brit partner for a cool $100bn if terms could be agreed.

That figure of £2.1bn may seem like a lot of money, but it's slightly less than the £2.4bn dividend paid at the tail of last year, and that was below the £2.94bn payout at the start of 2012. So, in context it’s a declining number. Still, the handout surprised the financial markets, which had expected the company to hang onto its cash.

That belief was based on the buyout rumours, with majority shareholder Verizon keeping money within the operation - of which it intends to become the sole owner.

Quite how this dividend changes things isn't clear. It could signal declining interest on Verizon's part in buying out Voda's share, or just that the parents wanted some more cash to slosh around the place. ®

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