Italian telcos Wind Telecomunicazioni and 3 Italia have received preliminary bids for some of their assets as they look to clear the way for their proposed merger. A report from Bloomberg, which cites ‘people familiar with the matter’, says that Wind and 3’s owners – Vimpelcom and CK Hutchison, respectively – have had non-binding offers from Swisscom, which owns Italian ISP Fastweb, plus French telco Iliad and Jamaica-based mobile group Digicel. Meanwhile, the sources have suggested that satellite TV operator Sky has decided not to proceed with an offer.
Wind and 3 are looking to divest spare wireless spectrum as well as around 5,000 mobile towers as they hope to ease regulatory concerns which could see European Commission (EC) competition authorities block their planned tie-up. The EUR21.8 billion (USD24.7 billion) merger would reduce the number of players in Italy’s mobile market from four to three, but the EC could be persuaded to approve the deal if assets are sold off to enable a new fourth player to begin operations. A similar proposed merger between UK operators 3 and O2 was blocked by EC competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager last month.