Iliad Group reportedly made an offer for Vodafone Group’s Italian unit, further fuelling speculation another merger could be on the cards in Italy.

Bloomberg cited sources as stating Iliad submitted an offer to Vodafone’s board last week. Rumours surfaced last month claiming the companies had begun discussions over a merger of their operations in Italy.

Since then, activist shareholder Cevian Capital reportedly built up a stake in Vodafone and is said to be particularly keen to see the operator take a more active role in driving consolidation in markets including Italy, Spain and the UK.

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read last week asserted the company was taking proactive action towards in-market consolidation. Meanwhile, rumours linking the operator with mergers in Spain and the UK continue to resurface.

Italy is already a highly competitive market for mobile services. In January, Iliad Italia added a fibre option to its mobile offer and hinted at plans to continue a strategy of disruption begun when it entered the market in 2018.

Iliad was able to enter the Italian market on the back of the merger of Wind and CK Hutchison’s 3 Italy to create WindTre. CK Hutchison has since lamented continued intense competition in Italy, which it blamed for a drop in revenue and customers at its largest division.

Telecom Italia, meanwhile, faces a near €11 billion takeover bid by US investment group KKR.