Hutchison Whampoa and Vimpelcom are considering launching an initial public offer (IPO) in their combined Italian telecoms businesses should their merger negotiations reach a successful conclusion, Bloomberg reports, citing ‘two people with knowledge of the matter’. The proposed merger of Hutchison’s 3 Italia and Vimpelcom’s Wind Telecomunicazioni would create the largest mobile carrier in Italy, with around 31 million subscribers, as well as the second largest fixed broadband provider thanks to Wind’s DSL and fibre operations. A recent report suggested that a deal could be announced within three months, though getting regulatory clearance for the tie-up could take up to a year.
Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that Wind is about to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Italian fibre network owner Metroweb which could lead to Wind taking a stake in Metroweb or simply a commercial deal for wholesale network access. State-backed Metroweb signed a similar non-disclosure agreement with rival firm Vodafone Italy earlier this year. The fibre operator is being touted as a vehicle for the government to cooperate with telcos to push ahead with a multi-billion euro plan to deploy high speed internet networks nationwide by 2020.