French tycoon Xavier Niel’s Iliad Group reportedly restarted talks with Vodafone Group about a potential deal involving the UK-based operator’s European operations, more than a year after talks over a sale of the latter’s Italian unit broke down.

Bloomberg reported talks had been revived after it emerged Niel had bought a 2.5 per cent stake in Vodafone in September 2022 through his investment vehicle Atlas Investissement.

Atlas Investissement runs separately from Illiad, but the billionaire is seemingly using his new influence within Vodafone to push a tie-up with the French company.

Bloomberg sources stated Vodafone’s Italian business is one of several possible assets on the table, while the French company has also been studying its assets in other parts of the continent.

Vodafone rejected an €11 billion bid from Niel for its Italian business in early 2022, as he sought to boost Iliad’s presence in the region.

In recent weeks, there has also been speculation about a sale of  Vodafone Spain, following interest from private equity and strategic suitors.

Vodafone is under ongoing pressure from investors to revamp its operations to boost its share price, which has been underperforming for some time.

Bloomberg noted a deal with Iliad may not be imminent and Vodafone may opt to wait until it has named a permanent CEO.

CFO Margherita Della Valle has helmed the positioned on an interim basis after Nick Read left at the turn of the year.