Swisscom of Switzerland is considering the sale of its Italian broadband internet provider FastWeb, with Vodafone the front-runner in the race to acquire the firm which has been valued at up to EUR5 billion (USD6.3 billion). A report from Reuters, which cites ‘sources familiar with the situation’, said Swisscom is now working with adviser UBS to facilitate a deal with the UK-based telco. The Swiss company has already turned down several takeover offers from Vodafone, which operates Italy’s second largest cellular operator and fourth largest broadband provider in subscriber terms.
FastWeb sits just ahead of Vodafone in the Italian broadband sector, with just under two million subscribers at the end of June 2014. If the deal did go through, it would see Vodafone leapfrog Wind Telecomunicazioni to take second place in that market segment behind clear leader Telecom Italia. Just last month FastWeb announced plans to extend its fibre-optic network to 100 new cities by the end of 2016. The new deployment schedule will see fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services extended to a footprint encompassing around 5.5 million households, with the telco’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network reaching a further two million homes.