Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam told investors this week that paying down Verizon Wireless' $5 billion debt load that comes due in mid-2014 will take top priority over paying dividends to the carrier's two owners, which includes Vodafone. Verizon is reportedly trying to buy out the British telecom's 45% share in the wireless company, but McAdam said the telecom will not pay what he sees as a premium price. Some analysts believe Verizon wields the dividend as a carrot and stick to persuade Vodafone to sell its stake.

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