Verizon-Vodafone Seen Yielding Over $240 Million in Fee Bonanza
Comment of the Day

August 30 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Verizon-Vodafone Seen Yielding Over $240 Million in Fee Bonanza

This article by Aaron Kirchfeld for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section
Verizon Communications Inc.'s buyout of the rest of its wireless venture may yield more than $240 million in fees for the bankers lucky enough to win a role on the biggest transaction in more than a decade.

Vodafone Group Plc is in advanced talks to sell its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to its U.S. partner for about $130 billion, said people with knowledge of the matter. At that price, the banks guiding Verizon may earn as much as $125 million in fees, while Vodafone's advisers could make up to $118 million, estimates from Freeman & Co. show. That doesn't include potential underwriting fees for financing.

Eoin Treacy's view Competition in the market for handheld devices remains fierce as demand for mobile internet connectivity replaces desktops. Some of the greatest beneficiaries of this migration are the providers of wireless access, since they sell subscriptions regardless of the technology used to avail of their services. Verizon's move to acquire the remaining portion of its wireless business from Vodafone suggests they continue to see this as a major growth story. (Also see Comment of the Day on March 6th 2013).

Vodafone (Est. P.E 12.93, DY 5.44%) has been trending higher since the beginning of the year and broke successfully above 200p for the first time in twelve years today. A sustained move below the 200-day MA would be required to question medium-term scope for continued higher to lateral ranging. .

Verizon (Est. P.E 17.07, DY 4.31%) has returned to test the region of the 200-day MA and will need to find support in this area if the medium-term uptrend is to continue to be given the benefit of the doubt. Verizon will have to absorb the cost of acquiring the rest of its wireless network, but will now have a valuable platform from which to launch new products.

The question for Vodafone is where it can grow its business now that it has sold out of the US market. The company has strong cash flow and an impressive history of dividend increases so it can be considered to have more utility characteristics than growth potential. On the other hand, there is speculation AT&T may bid for Vodafone in an effort to expand into Europe's wireless market.

AT&T (Est. P.E 13.52, DY 5.35%) has fallen back to test last year's lows near $33 and will need to find support in this area if medium-term potential for higher to lateral ranging is to be given the benefit of the doubt.

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