Italy will not use its ‘golden power’ law to block the proposed merger between two of the country’s operators, 3 Italia and Wind, according to a statement from the office of Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi.
The statement said arguments put forward by the Ministry of Economic Development had been heard and the government would not exercise its special powers.
The so-called golden power law enables the Italian government to veto a merger where a non-European player is buying a company in a strategic sector of the economy, including telecoms.
CK Hutchison and VimpelCom agreed last month to form a 50-50 joint venture combining their two Italian operations (3 Italia and Wind). CK Hutchison is Hong Kong based, while VimpelCom’s HQ is in the Netherlands.
Despite the green light, the government recommends the two companies highlight what benefits the country will see from an industrial, innovation and employment perspective from their merger. It also wants reassurances that the delay will not involve the displacement of management and security functions outside national boundaries.
The deal, which reduces the number of operators from four to three, still requires regulatory approval to address any competition concerns. It will need approval, including from the EU. The partners expect the deal will complete within 12 months.