Vodafone has confirmed it has sold its 45 per cent share in US mobile network Verizon Wireless back to the parent company for an astonishing $130 billion (around £84bn), almost doubling its initial investment.

The sale figure, which includes cash and stock, dwarves the $70bn (around £45bn) it paid for the significant stake in America's top network 14-years ago, giving Vodafone and its investors a tidy profit.

The announcement follows speculation earlier this year suggesting Verizon was seeking to regain full control over the company as its builds on its market-leading position as America's largest 4G network.

The gargantuan deal is the third largest buyout ever, with only Vodafone's purchase of the German network Mannesmann in 1999 and the AOL buyout of Time Warner in 2000 bringing in more cash.

Prized asset

Vodafone is not expected to spend the windfall on expensive new acquisitions and instead will return 71 per cent of the net proceeds to its investors, while focusing on propping up its struggling European networks.

Vodafone had long battled with Verizon Communications over the level of returns on its investment, but despite the often troubled relationship, today's deal means the Berkshire-based network has lost its most profitable asset.

The boards of both companies unanimously backed the deal, which is expected to be rubber stamped sometime in the first quarter of next year.

"Today's announcement is a major milestone for Verizon, and we look forward to having full ownership of the industry leader in network performance, profitability and cash flow," said Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam.

His opposite number at Vodafone, Vittorio Colao, added: "This has been a highly productive partnership in a business with excellent momentum," before reaffirming his commitment to the next chapter of the company's history.

Via Reuters