Reuters tipped European officials to approve a merger of tower assets by Vodafone Italy and Telecom Italia, a move designed to boost deployment of 5G among other benefits.
The European Commission (EC) will make its decision on the merger today (6 March).
Reuters explained concessions offered by the operators last month were likely to sway competition authorities to approve the tie-up. The operators offered rivals access to 630 sites for six- to nine-years in cities with populations of more than 35,000.
The operators announced the plan in July 2019, following a broader industry trend to share the burden of network construction and maintenance.
If approved Vodafone Italia will transfer its mobile masts to Inwit, a tower business in which Telecom Italia holds a 60 per cent stake. The operators would take a 37.5 per cent stakes in the infrastructure company, which would become the largest in Italy and second-largest in Europe with control of 22,000 towers.
The agreement would deliver synergeries worth more than €800 million for both operators: Vodafone would receive an initial cash injection of €2.1 billion and incremental proceeds of more than €1 billion, with Telecom Italia set to leverage it to cut €1.4 billion in debt over time.
However, the plan faced opposition from Iliad Italia, with CEO Benedetto Levi expressing concerns over the impact on competition.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back