Verizon Wireless in talks to buy 45 percent stake back from Vodafone (update)

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We haven't heard much about Verizon's rumored plans to buy out Vodafone's stake in the company for $100 billion for a few months now, but according to the Wall Street Journal those talks have been "rekindled." Sources tell the WSJ that the Verizon is already talking to banks about securing the loans necessary to complete the deal, which would mean that UK-based Vodafone would no longer have the 45 percent ownership it currently maintains.

It's not known whether $100 billion will be enough for Vodafone, which reportedly had been seeking to get as much as $130 billion for its stake. News of the potential buyout surfaced as early as this past March, when Bloomberg reported that Verizon wanted to "resolve" the relationship. The $100 billion number came a month later, and presumably the final deal would be in that range. The WSJ reports that the buyout could happen "in the near term" and that Verizon would need to borrow as much as $50 billion to cover the cash part of the deal.

UpdateBloomberg has weighed in with its own report. It cites the $130 billion number as being more likely, and characterized the talks as "advanced." Reportedly Verizon will tap several banks, each for around $10 billion, to raise money for the deal, which could be a reality as soon as September 2nd.

Update 3AM ET: Vodafone has confirmed that it's in talks with Verizon. In a prepared statement, Vodafone says it "confirms that it is in discussions with Verizon Communications Inc. regarding the possible disposal of Vodafone's US group whose principal asset is its 45% interest in Verizon Wireless," but notes that "there is no certainty that an agreement will be reached."

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