Hutchison Whampoa’s 3 Italia and Vimpelcom’s Wind are talking again about a merger which would create the country’s leading operator, according to Bloomberg.
The talks come shortly after the EC’s decision to conditionally approve Telefonica’s acquisition of E-Plus from owner KPN, a deal which is seen as setting a benchmark for in-country consolidation.
However Hutchison wants 3 Italia to have majority control of any merged entity, while Vimpelcom’s preference is for a 50-50 split.
The two sides are not close to an agreement, according to people familiar with the situation.
This is not the first report recently that Hutchison and Vimpelcom have revived discussions.
The original discussions between the two companies were at the end of 2013. Previously, Hutchison was talking to Telecom Italia about a possible merger.
A merged 3-Wind entity would become Italy’s largest player as the number of operators in the country reduced from four to three.
Based on GSMA Intelligence figures, 3 Italia-Wind would have 31.6 million mobile connections, narrowly ahead of Telecom Italia (31 million) and Vodafone (27.3 million).
La Repubblica reported the two sides were in advanced talks to merge yesterday.