Vodafone Group is reported to be mulling an acquisition of Italian fixed-line operator Fastweb, although it was noted that its current focus is on the possible acquisition of German cable company Kabel Deutschland.
According to Bloomberg, an acquisition of Fastweb has come onto the agenda as Vodafone explores how it may spend the possible $100 billion it could receive from the sale of its stake in US operator Verizon Wireless.
With the removal of the lucrative US business from its portfolio, Vodafone will need to bolster its position in its key European markets, where it is facing a combination of economic weakness, high penetration rates, and intense competition.
Vodafone confirmed it is in talks with Kabel Deutschland earlier this week, although it noted that this may not guarantee an approach.
The latest reports are not the first time that Vodafone has been linked with Fastweb. Bloomberg said that Vodafone has already made two informal approaches for Fastweb, one this year and one in 2011, which were rejected by current owner Swisscom.
In its most recent quarter, Fastweb saw an EBITDA of €119 million, down 9.2 per cent year-on-year, on revenue of €487 million, down 4.5 per cent. It has 1.86 million broadband access lines, up 12.5 per cent. The company is in the process of expanding its fibre-optic network.
It is not clear why Swisscom may be more open to future approaches, but if Vodafone approaches with a bulging wallet it may be more open to talks.