Hutchison Whampoa targets Telecom Italia’s mobile unit

Hutchison Whampoa has reportedly targeted investment in Telecom Italia’s mobile unit to speed up the process of forging a deal between the two companies.

Reuters reports that Chinese operator Hutchison would not oppose a spin-off of Telecom Italia’s fixed-line network and are at present in talks to secure a 29.9% stake in the Italian operator.

It is thought that Italian politicians hold concerns over a foreign company potentially owning the country’s fixed-line telecoms network, which is considered as a strategic national asset.

“The Chinese want to do this deal on the third and fourth generation mobile business. They are not interested in the fixed-line business,” a source told reporters.

Telecom Italia and Hutchison are thought to be discussing a merger between the two, possibly involving 3 Italia merging with the Italian operator and Hutchison acquiring shares in the merged company.

If Telecom Italia was to spin-off its fixed-line network into a new company, Reuters reports there would not be any “political hurdles” in the way of Hutchison taking control of the company.

Board members are thought to be making a decision on the deal in a meeting scheduled for May 8.

A Telecom Italia investor has previously stated he has received no contact regarding a tie-up with the Chinese operator.

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