Fund Management initiated a position in Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) Common during the quarter. Vodafone is a leading provider of telecommunications services based in the United Kingdom. This investment is discussed in more detail in this quarter's Third Avenue International Value Fund shareholder letter. The Vodafone common investment made by the Fund was prompted by the company's sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless at a tremendous price (9.4 times EBITDA). Shares of Vodafone Common were purchased at less than five times pro-forma EBITDA and at a mid-single digit dividend yield in the Fund. Although conditions in the European telecommunications industry are difficult, Vodafone's business is very cash generative and the proceeds from the Verizon Wireless transaction will enable the company to reinvest more in its networks than many of its competitors while maintaining a very strong financial position and a healthy dividend. Vodafone also has substantial exposure to emerging markets, such as India and Africa, that are experiencing tremendous growth in demand for smart phones and data.
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