After the sale rumours that followed Vodafone last year over its stake in Verizon Wireless, it looks like the decision to hold onto 45 percent of the US operator has paid off. According to the Financial Times, Vodafone has revealed it expects to start receiving dividends from its share in Verizon Wireless again from next year.
The paper reports Verizon Wireless last issued dividends back in 2005, it handed over £923 million, with the company deciding subsequently to pay down debt rather than issue dividends and quotes an analyst as suggesting that Verizon should indeed start paying out next year but at a lower level than previously.
So does this make it more or less likely that Vodafone will sell? After all, if it holds on longer, it’ll get to see some pay back for its investment. But, the resumption of dividends also means that its stake could fetch a higher price if Vodafone decided to put it up for sale. And then there’s the question of the 700Mhz spectrum auction, which Verizon Wireless emerged victorious from. While it got itself a juicy section of spectrum, it also shelled out a lot for the privilege. There’s got to be some heads being scratched at Vodafone right now.