LONDON (AP) — With a cash infusion coming soon from the sale of its U.S. business, British cellphone company Vodafone on Tuesday shot down speculation it might go "shopping" for new acquisitions, saying it would focus on investing in its networks in European and emerging markets.
Vodafone agreed this year to sell its 45 percent stake in U.S. mobile operator Verizon Communications Inc. to Verizon for $130 billion in a landmark cash and stock purchase— one of the biggest corporate deals in history.
But Vodafone argued that, while it was always looking for good opportunities, it had no interest in a spending spree, having already wrapped up a takeover of Germany's biggest cable operator, Kabel Deutschland, for 7.7 billion euros. The group intends to return about $84 billion to shareholders when the deal is completed, likely in the first quarter of 2014.
The company said Tuesday its current plans are to increase investment in existing operations. It will spend 7 billion pounds ($11.2 billion) over two years — about 1 billion pounds more than previously announced.
"The pending $130 billion U.S. transaction will reward our shareholders for their long-term support of our strategy and will provide us with a strong balance sheet, improved dividend cover and the financial and strategic flexibility to make further investments in the business or returns to shareholders in the future," Chief executive Vittorio Colao said in a statement.