FCC approves Verizon purchase of Vodafone stake in Verizon Wireless

Verizon expects the deal to buy a 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to close early next year

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has given its blessing to Verizon Communication's proposed $130 billion purchase of the stake that Vodafone Group has in Verizon Wireless.

The FCC Wednesday approved a Verizon petition to allow the company to be more than 25 percent owned by foreign investors, with the Vodafone deal distributing Verizon shares to stockholders in the U.K. company. The FCC also approved the transfer of control of Vodafone's share to Verizon.

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Verizon now controls 55 percent of Verizon Wireless and the deal would transfer the remaining 45 percent controlled by Vodafone to the parent company. Verizon announced plans to purchase the Vodafone stake last September and the company expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2014.

Verizon's application was first use of a streamlined foreign-ownership rules procedures that the FCC adopted earlier this year.

The actions by the FCC's International Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology came just over one month after the public comment period closed on the Verizon petition. 

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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