The Italian government has revealed that it will not intervene in the proposed merger between the country’s third and fourth mobile operators, Vimpelcom-owned Wind Telecomunicazioni and CK Hutchison’s 3 Italia. A government statement says the cabinet has backed the Ministry of Economic Development’s suggestion that it should not use its right to veto the tie-up, although the approval is conditional upon the two firms agreeing to a number of measures. These include the operators providing further information on the impact of the deal on employees and their respective business strategies. The government has also stipulated that management and security functions should not be transferred overseas.
While Rome has given a conditional green light to the merger, Wind and 3 still await approval from competition authorities. The EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager recently blocked a proposed tie-up in Denmark’s mobile market between the local units of TeliaSonera and Telenor. The combined Wind/3 would leapfrog TIM and Vodafone to take top spot in the Italian cellular sector with around 31 million subscribers, just ahead of TIM with 30.1 million and Vodafone with 24.9 million.