Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica is the frontrunner to buy HanseNet, the German broadband unit of Telecom Italia (TI), reports Reuters citing two sources close to the matter. ‘Talks are continuing, the main point is obviously the price,’ said one of the sources, adding that the company could fetch up to EUR1.5 billion (USD2.13 billion). Telefonica’s CEO Julio Linares stated that the group is still interested in the German broadband operator, which provides services under the Alice banner. Telefonica already operates in the German telecoms market, providing fixed line and mobile services as Telefonica O2 Deutschland.
In February 2009 Franco Bernabe, chief executive of TI, confirmed that HanseNet, along with TI’s underwater cable business Sparkle and 27% share in Cuban telco ETECSA, were up for sale. The following month Telefonica, UK-based telecoms group Vodafone and German cable operator United Internet all reportedly made bids for HanseNet, which had a total of 2.289 million high speed internet subscribers at 30 June 2009.