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Verizon & Vodafone Top the 5 Best M&A Deals of the Last 5 Years

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Mergers can be as dicey -- or as blissful -- as modern-day marriages. And, especially in the aftermath of the global economic downturn, they can be delicate.

It takes indomitable resolve and patience to create a masterful merger and begin a shared legacy. So which companies have done it right?

Here are the top five post-recession deals -- deals where companies got it right, despite the odds against them.

These primo mergers were chosen from the largest M&A deals from 2009 to 2014. We searched for the greatest mutual benefit in those mergers, as well as improvements in revenue, customer outreach, business expansion, operating results and innovation. We also looked for flexibility from both parties and resilience in the face of regulatory demands and other challenges.

Verizon Communications & Vodafone

Year: 2014

Sector: Telecom

Transaction Value: $130 billion

Vodafone's (VOD) transfer of its wireless unit to Verizon Communications (VZ - Get Report) is the third-biggest corporate deal it orchestrated during the past decade and a half. The success that the British telecom player found in the sale of Verizon Wireless, which had been jointly owned by both companies, is a sequel to the lessons it learned from its doomed merger with AOL in 2000.

This deal should have been done a long time ago, analysts say. It provided a hefty sum of $84 billion to Vodafone shareholders who had resigned themselves to the telecom giant's fast-shrinking market capitalization during the 14-year period that followed the emergence of Verizon Wireless as a joint venture in 2000.

The wireless business has enabled Verizon to build new networks with sophisticated technology that helped it emerge as America's top broadband and telecom player.

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