Vodafone restructures for further asset sales

Michael Carroll
13 Sep 2010

Vodafone has sparked fresh speculation about a sale of its Verizon Wireless stake, announcing the business will be taken out of its regional operations as part of a management shake-up.

A restructure on October 1 will see Verizon, SFR, Polkomtel and Bharti placed in a unit controlled directly by CEO Vittorio Colao, while other subsidiaries will fall under two new regional divisions covering Europe, and Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Although Vodafone claims the shake-up is designed to streamline its business, the changes have sparked rumors that a sale of the firm’s 45% Verizon Wireless stake is imminent.

Colao has come under increasing pressure from shareholders to offload the stake, and previously said the firm has little interest in maintaining minority shares the Telegraph reported.

Vodafone last week offloaded its 3.2% holding in China Mobile for €5.2 billion.

A long-running dispute with Verizon means Vodafone hasn’t received a dividend payment from the US operation since 2005, making the investment a key focus for shareholder dissatisfaction, FT.com said.

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