Wind of change: Italian merger talks resume

18 Feb 2015

The on-off merger negotiations between the Italian units of Russia’s Vimpelcom and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa are thought to be moving closer to a resolution. A report from Bloomberg suggests that Vimpelcom-backed Wind Telecomunicazioni and Hutchison’s 3 Italia have made progress in resolving disagreements over the future ownership structure of the merged entity, while the Italian daily Il Giornale says that a deal is ‘imminent’.

The combined businesses had 2013 revenues of EUR6.7 billion (USD7.6 billion) and serve around 31 million customers, which would see the merged cellco take pole position in the Italian wireless sector, just ahead of current market leader Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) and second-placed Vodafone Italy. Merger talks were previously said to have foundered due to Hutchison’s insistence that 3 Italia take a controlling stake in the enlarged entity, while Vimpelcom was thought to favour a 50:50 split.

Italy, 3 Italia (H3G Italia), WINDTRE (incl. Wind and 3 Italia)