Verizon has completed the $130 billion buyout of Vodafone's stake in the wireless giant, a feat that marks the largest corporate sale of the last decade.
The news, first reported by Bloomberg, will see Vodafone pay out $82.5 billion to shareholders, which will cut the company's market value to about $100 billion — almost half of what it was before the sale.
Vodafone, now as a result of the sale, drops from the second largest mobile phone company to fourth.
U.K. and European phone giant Vodafone had a 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. cellular firm, but Verizon wanted to take back the near-half investment in efforts to gain full control of the subsidiary. But at the same time, the massive cash return for Vodafone allows it to expand further into Europe, albeit at a tumultuous time where mobile roaming and data prices are under scrutiny by the European Union.
According to the financial publication, the next steps for Vodafone could be a sale of its own wireless arm, citing people familiar with the matter — particularly to AT&T, which rivals Verizon in second-place in the U.S. market, which has reportedly looked to branch out into European markets.