Telecom Italia’s discussions with Hutchison Whampoa over a proposed merger of their Italian mobile assets have stalled amid disagreements over valuation, four people familiar with the matter have indicated to Bloomberg. Three months after agreeing to examine a combination between Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) and Hutchison’s H3G Italia unit, TI directors are now expected to halt their deliberations. Instead, company executives intend to focus on spinning off the company’s fixed line assets, a plan approved by its board at the end of May.
While it is understood that TI remains keen to revisit a wireless merger in the future, it is unclear if Hutchison Whampoa shares the same viewpoint. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that the Hong Kong-based firm has cranked up its M&A activity this year, acquiring Orange Austria in January for EUR1.40 billion (USD1.87 billion) and agreeing a EUR850 million takeover of O2 Ireland with Telefonica last month. In each case Hutchison has moved to absorb a larger rival.