Vodafone is to receive a multi-billion pound dividend from Verizon Wireless, the US network which is pushing the UK operator to sell its 45% stake.
The US carrier announced overnight that it was paying £4.6bn in dividends, which, because of Vodafone's 45% stake, will result in a £2.1bn boost to the UK business.
In a statement, a Vodafone spokesperson said it will update shareholders on how it plans to utilise this dividend at the time of its preliminary results announcement on 21 May 2013.
The dividend was unexpected after Lowell McAdam, Verizon's chief executive warned earlier this month of a 'lean' year in terms of payout from Verizon Wireless.
Verizon is keen to wrest complete control of its business. Earlier this month it said it would be a ‘willing purchaser’ of the 45% holding, although the stake provides a hedge against Vodafone's poor performance in the southern European markets.
There has been speculation of a $100bn offer from Verizon for Vodafone's stake, but analysts estimate Vodafone will not settle for less than $135bn.