Wind of change? Sawiris reignites acquisition speculation

13 Jul 2011

According to Reuters, Italian cellco Wind Telecomunicazioni (Wind Italy), the country’s third largest cellco in terms of subscribers, is interested in exploring acquisition talks with domestic rival 3 Italia, as well as broadband operators Fastweb and Tiscali. Citing comments by Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris – who sold his telecoms holding company Wind Telecom (formerly Weather Investments) to Russian telecoms giant Vimpelcom in April – Reuters confirms that no deals are currently in the works. The transaction with Vimpelcom, which included 100% of Wind Italy and 51.7% of Orascom Telecom, among other interests, meant that Sawiris himself is now a shareholder in the enlarged Vimpelcom group.

Shares in Tiscali, which had a 4% share of Italian broadband subscribers at end-March 2011, reportedly surged last month after reports linking Vimpelcom with a potential takeover emerged in the Italian press. Sawiris told a press conference this week: ‘We are completely open to integrating with all three companies you mention. We have [an] appetite to grow our business. We believe there [are] synergies, but until there is something concrete we cannot say anything more than that. There is nothing concrete right now’.