The two telecoms firms, U.S.-based Verizon and U.K-based Vodafone, were set to vote this weekend on the deal that would give Verizon complete ownership of its cellular arm, Verizon Wireless, Reuters reported.
Under the terms, reports the Journal, Verizon would pay for the stake in approximately equal portions of both cash and stock. In return, Vodafone will walk away with a significantly bolstered cash pile.
An announcement of the deal, which still has to be approved by the boards of each company, is expected as early as Monday, which in the U.K. is a normal business day.
For the past four years, Verizon has wanted to buy back Vodafone's 45 percent stake in the U.S.' largest cellular network. Verizon Wireless remains the most profitable part of the company since overtaking its wireline business in 2008. Vodafone paid $70 billion in 1999 for what eventually became its share in Verizon Wireless. The U.K. phone giant had restricted control over its operations, however.
The question is, once the deal goes through, exactly what Vodafone will do with its newfound sizeable chunk of financial wealth. Based on its first quarter earnings, sales were up by more than 2 percent, but suffered in Northern and Central Europe from heavy competition in the region.
Europe currently has more than 100 mobile and fixed-line operators owned by more than 40 companies, according to the Journal, which caused headaches for European officials wanting to streamline the continent's roaming deals. Earlier this year, EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes promised a single mobile market by 2015, leading to reduced roaming costs across the 28 member state bloc.
ZDNet will have more throughout the Labor Day holiday weekend as it comes in.