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FCC greenlights Verizon buyout of Vodafone

Approval given for $130bn deal

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Verizon's plan to acquire all outstanding shares in its US wireless business has been granted the approval of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC said on Wednesday that new rulings on foreign ownership have allowed it to speed up approval of such investment deals, in this case Verizon's plan to acquire Vodafone US, which holds a 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless.

"This is an excellent example of the type of process reform the FCC is seeking to accomplish," said FCC international bureau chief Mindel De La Torre.

"In this instance, the International Bureau was able to expeditiously grant the declaratory ruling by public notice after completing its public interest review."

The $130bn deal, first announced in September, would allow Verizon to take over total ownership of its namesake wireless business, the largest mobile carrier and network operator in the US.

The deal includes a $58.9bn cash payment and stock offering from Verizon to Vodafone in exchange for its 45 per cent share of the wireless firm.

"We thank the FCC for its quick action in approving our transaction with Vodafone, which will provide Verizon with 100 per cent ownership of Verizon Wireless and a boost to one of the most important sectors of the US economy," Verizon general counsel and executive vice president for public policy Randal Milch said in a statement.

"This application approval also marks the first use of the streamlined foreign-ownership review procedures that the FCC adopted earlier this year, and we are grateful to the commission for its commitment to process reforms that benefit wireless carriers and the customers we serve." ®

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