Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) will focus on bolstering its mobile network and credit rating after the $130 billion deal to take control of its wireless business closes next year, Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said.
The company plans to return to its A- credit rating in the next four or five years after completing the biggest takeover in more than a decade, Shammo said at an industry conference in Barcelona today. Verizon is also going to add capacity to its fourth-generation wireless network in areas such as New York, where parts of the infrastructure have been overwhelmed.
“We need to de-lever as quickly as possible,” Shammo said. “We are going to continue to invest in our network and our platforms. We’re going to continue to acquire spectrum, which we need to deliver our wireless performance.”
Verizon, based in New York, agreed to buy out Vodafone Group Plc from its wireless business this year. By owning 100 percent of Verizon Wireless, the largest and most profitable U.S. wireless carrier, the company will keep all the earnings and give it more leeway to make network improvements.
The proxies for a shareholder meeting on the acquisition will be filed in December and investors are expected to vote in January, Shammo said at the conference organized by Morgan Stanley.
Standard & Poor’s rates Verizon BBB+, one level below A-.
Verizon plans to participate in spectrum auctions in the U.S. and is still receptive to offers for its so-called A-block spectrum put up for sale last year, Shammo said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at email@example.com