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Vodafone gets green light for $5.41 billion sale of Spanish business

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a Vodafone store in Ronda

(Reuters) -Vodafone said on Tuesday it received approval from Spanish authorities for the sale of its local unit to Zegona Communications for 5 billion euros ($5.41 billion).

The British mobile operator announced the sale of its Spanish business to Zegona in October, marking an exit from a market that has dragged on performance for years.

Vodafone intends to start an initial 500 million euros share buyback on Wednesday as part of the 2 billion euros it plans to return to investors in over 12 months.

Earlier in the day, the company reported a 2.2% rise in annual organic earnings after it returned to top-line growth in the final quarter on gains in Britain and Germany.

The London-listed company added the sale is expected to close at the end of the month.

($1 = 0.9246 euros)

(Reporting by Anchal Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Sriraj Kalluvila)