Hutchison Whampoa and VimpelCom close to merging Italian units

Hutchison Whampoa and VimpelCom are reportedly close to finalising a merger of their Italian mobile units.

If successful, the merger of 3 Italia and Wind Telecomunicazioni will create the country’s largest mobile operator with over 30 million customers and €6.4 billion in 2014 revenue.

The news comes over two months after VimpelCom confirmed that it is in discussions withHutchison Whampoa about an equal joint venture. An announcement on the deal could happen as early as next week, sources told Bloomberg.

The parties are said to be considering a capital increase of €2 billion for the combined group as well as bringing in a private equity investor.   

No final agreement has been reached and the transaction could still fall apart with issues such as asset sales to be settled, said the sources.