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Vodafone Rumor: Dividend Bonus from U.S. Partner

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Verizon Wireless, the joint venture between American telecom power Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and England-based global telecom giant Vodafone (NYSE: VOD  ) , does not automatically get its monetary due from majority partner Verizon. The 55% of Verizon Wireless that Verizon controls gives the Yanks the right to dole out to the JV whatever dividend it deems appropriate -- if any at all.

Between 2000 and 2005, an annual dividend was regularly paid out to the partners. From 2005 until last January, however, there was none. Why? Because that money might be needed for capital expenditures and acquisitions, as then new Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told the Financial Times last September. "... [W]e may end up buying spectrum and we may end up buying another company and if there are needs for that cash in Verizon Wireless, that is where it'll be generated and that is where it'll be spent ..."

Verizon did indeed make a large splash last December when it agreed to pay $3.9 billion to several cable companies for a large cache of wireless spectrum. Verizon Wireless must have been doing very well indeed in the cash generation department, because even with that deal it was still able to hand out a $10 billion dividend to the partnership, $4.5 billion going to Vodafone.

So could there be a second dividend just half a year later? That's what the Sunday Times reported would happen. The paper did not cite any sources, however.

Such a dividend would give Vodafone investors a nice windfall. Of the $4.5 billion Vodafone received in January, $3.13 billion was passed on to shareholders as a special dividend. The same payout would occur this time too if the report proves true. That would come out to around $0.63 a share in addition to Vodafone's regular dividend.

Remember, this special dividend is still just a rumor for now. For more tangible dividends check out the Fool's special report, Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks. It's free!

Fool contributor Dan Radovsky has no financial interest in the above-mentioned companies. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Vodafone Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On July 17, 2012, at 2:16 PM, dbtuner wrote:

    Get your facts straight. The last dividend from VZ wireless was announced last July 2011 after the earnings report. It was not paid until Feb 1 2012. VZ announces earnings on Thursday and will most likely announce this years "special dividend" which will again be paid on Feb 1, 2013.

    In fact, VZ needs the dividend from its wireless subsidiary to pay out its own dividend and meet its cash flow issues.

  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2012, at 4:10 AM, energysystems wrote:

    dbtuner is spot on. VZ can't pay out their dividend without getting the cash flow from their wireless division, and they have to split off 45% of that to VOD. As a VOD shareholder, I believe this will become a regular "special" dividend. I don't see VZ cutting their dividend just to cut out VOD from their cut.

  • Report this Comment On July 19, 2012, at 5:14 AM, iantos wrote:

    I think you mean 0.063 a share - approximately £0.04 which is what we received.

  • Report this Comment On July 19, 2012, at 8:21 AM, XMFDRadovsky wrote:


    Thanks for the heads up. The discrepancy of our dividend numbers seems to be in the difference of the number of VOD shares sold on the London exchange and the VOD (ADR) shares sold on the NYSE. The number of ADR shares are 1/10th that of the London shares.


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