According to Bloomberg, Russian telecoms giant Vimpelcom has indicated that it is considering further consolidation in its home market and in Italy during the next 18 to 24 months. CEO Jo Lunder told reporters: ‘Russia and Italy are 70% of our business and there are opportunities we will explore if they come up’. Pakistan is another possibility for mergers, he said. Vimpelcom acquired 100% of Wind Telecomunicazioni (Wind Italy) and 51.7% of Pakistan wireless operator Mobilink as part of its USD6.5 billion merger with Wind Telecom (formerly Weather Investments), which closed on 15 April 2011. It was claimed that the combination of Vimpelcom and Wind Telecom created the world’s sixth largest mobile telecoms provider in terms of subscribers, with operations in 20 countries.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in July Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris – who sold Wind Telecom to Vimpelcom in April, and duly took a seat on the Vimpelcom board – confirmed that Wind was interested in exploring merger options with domestic wireless rival 3 Italia, as well as broadband operators FastWeb and Tiscali. Shares in Tiscali, which had a 3.8% share of Italian broadband subscribers at end-June 2011, reportedly surged after reports linking Vimpelcom with a potential takeover emerged in the Italian press.