Vodafone's Verizon deal has left some shareholders with a big headache
Vodafone shareholders set to receive one of the biggest ever payouts from a corporate asset sale on Tuesday cheered the $130 billion deal struck with Verizon, but for some, the agreement presents a conundrum.
The majority, or 71 percent of the proceeds from Vodafone's sale of its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, will be handed back to shareholders. That means the company will return $84 billion in cash and shares to investors — $23.9 billion in cash and $60.2 billion in Verizon stock.
"It's actually a very good outcome for shareholders," Paras Anand, head of European equities at Fidelity Worldwide Investments, one of the largest institutional investors in Vodafone, said.
"What has been achieved with respect to the valuation of the Verizon Wireless stake, if you were to compare it to the Vodafone valuation, you're looking at about a 30 percent premium, so Vodafone management has realized a very good value for their stake."
But the deal, the third-largest in corporate history, after Vodafone's $203 billion takeover of Germany's Mannesmann in 1999 and AOL's $181 billion acquisition of Time Warner in 2000, also leaves some shareholders in a tight spot.
Anand said that some fund managers can't hold U.S. stocks in their funds and will be forced to sell. Others may simply not have great hopes for Verizon's stock and that could pressure Verizon shares.
"[Investors will] also look at the rating on Verizon and its business model and ask themselves, 'Is this an asset I want to hold given that there is the U.S. where the structure of the market is very strong and profits are very good," he said. "If you look at the market structure in the U.S. it's very difficult to imagine it getting a lot better than it is now and clearly if you look at Verizon now their fixed-line business is not in great shape."
George Godber, fund manager at Miton Group, told CNBC he was waiting to see how Verizon would trade on Tuesday, as investors reacted to the deal.
(Read more: How should Vodafone spend Verizon's $130 billion?)
"The most important thing to do is to work out what to do with my Verizon shares," Godber said. "This is the big unknown. Sixty billion [dollars] are being returned to [Vodafone] shareholders...Shareholders in Vodafone now own 44 percent of Verizon," he said.
Analysts at Citi warned that the distribution of Verizon stock to Vodafone shareholders was likely to create some volatility in Verizon shares.