Vodafone shop front

Vodafone has sold its 45% in Verizon's wireless subsidiary for $130 billion (£83 billion).

Under the deal, Verizon, the largest mobile operator in the US, will take 100% ownership of the wireless unit.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to customary regulatory approvals. Verizon will pay a combination of cash and stock for Vodafone's stake.

"As a wholly owned entity, Verizon Wireless will be better equipped to take advantage of the changing competitive dynamics in the market and capitalise on the continuing evolution of consumer demand for wireless, video and broadband services," Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said.

"This transaction allows both Vodafone and Verizon to execute on their long-term strategic objectives," Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said. "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."

Verizon has sought to buy out its wireless business, originally formed as a joint venture with Vodafone, for several years. The transaction is unlikely to have a significant impact on US mobile consumers, industry analysts said last week. Vodafone may use the huge windfall to buy smaller carriers and further its pursuit of wireline operations, analysts said.

Verizon will pay Vodafone $58.9 billion in cash, financed by a $61 billion bridge credit arrangement from a group of investment banks. It plans to reduce its commitments under that arrangement later by issuing permanent financing. The company will also issue common stock currently valued at about $60 billion to be distributed to Vodafone shareholders, and will issue $5 billion in notes payable to Vodafone. Verizon will sell its 23.1% minority stake in Vodafone Omnitel, an Italian mobile operator, to Vodafone for $3.5 billion. The rest of the transaction will be a combination of other considerations.

Verizon was willing to pay a sky-high price for Vodafone's stake because of the strategic importance of the deal, said Chetan Sharma, founder and president of Chetan Sharma Consulting.

"They will be in control of their own destiny and they clearly believe in their future and that the stake will be worth a lot more in a few years," Sharma said.

Because Verizon stock will make up part of the deal, it's a good one for Vodafone, said analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics.

"This transaction shows continued faith about the outperformance of of VZW and the US wireless market in general," Entner said. "It also allows Vodafone to continue to participate in the upside in the US."