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Vodafone and Verizon update relationship status: $130bn worth of complicated

If we don't pay tax on corporate divorce, and the board's happy

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Vodafone has confirmed it is in "advanced talks" with Verizon, which has agreed to pay $130bn to buy out its UK partner - and has apparently found a way to avoid paying tax on the windfall too.

Tax has been the stumbling block to previous deals. Vodafone has made good money on its Verizon investment – it currently owns 45 per cent of America's second-largest operator, and could have been liable for $20bn in capital gains tax. But this deal will, apparently, let the company slip past the exchequer without paying a penny in UK tax.

Last time the deal was discussed, earlier this year, the price was expected to be a little over $100bn, depending on the tax liability. By securing $130bn Vodafone has done well, and by avoiding the taxman the company has served its shareholders well too.

Details of the deal aren't public, but Reuters reckons it will comprise $60bn in cash and the same in Verizon shares, topped up with $10bn in odds and ends the companies have lying around the place. The BBC adds that as Verizon is a US company, owned by a Netherlands-registered shell, there shouldn't be a UK tax liability.

Vodafone itself isn't saying very much at all. The company's statement pegs the deal at $130bn, but cautions that it could yet fall apart. The next announcement is expected Monday evening (UK time), once the Verizon board has had a chance to get into work and vote on the subject. ®

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