Hutchison Whampoa targets Telecom Italia’s mobile unit

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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