Vodafone finally gets dividend from Verizon

Vodafone shareholders will receive $3.3 billion (about £2bn) from a long-awaited Verizon Wireless dividend, raising hopes for regular payouts from the American company after a six-year drought.

Shares in Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile phone operator by revenue, rose as much as 5.7 per cent yesterday before closing 4 per cent, or 6.6p, higher at 172p after Verizon Wireless said it would pay $10bn to the British company and co-owner Verizon Communications.

"Verizon's attempt to squeeze Vodafone has resoundingly failed, they now have no choice but to pay," Robin Bienenstock at brokerage Bernstein said, predicting regular dividends.

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Vodafone has not received a payout from Verizon Wireless, in which it holds a 45 per cent stake, since 2005, partly because Verizon had hoped to force Vodafone out of the joint venture by not paying a dividend, say analysts.

The development is the latest victory in a campaign by chief executive Vittorio Colao to make Vodafone's sprawling portfolio more effective.

In the last year, Vodafone has resolved several shared-ownership issues, including buying Essar out of an Indian joint venture for $5.46bn and selling a stake in China Mobile for $6.5bn.

Vodafone said its shareholders would receive 2bn from its share of the windfall via a special 4p-per-share dividend to be paid in February, with the balance used to pay down debt.

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