PARIS (Reuters) -French telecoms group Iliad said it made an offer to Vodafone to buy 100% of Vodafone Italia, an Iliad spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Reuters reported last month that Iliad, led by billionaire founder Xavier Niel, and Vodafone were in talks to combine their respective businesses in Italy in an attempt to end cut-throat competition.
Vodafone declined to comment. Iliad did not provide further details on its offer.
Such a deal would transform the Italian telecoms landscape by cutting the number of major mobile operators from four to three. It would also face scrutiny from antitrust from regulators.
“The transaction for Iliad would be financially very challenging and not obvious from an authorisation point of view, although the European regulator has appeared more willing to consider consolidation from 4 to 3 operators...,” broker Equita said.
Equita estimated that Vodafone Italia, which also competes against CK Hutchison Holdings’ Wind Tre and former monopoly Telecom Italia, has an enterprise value of between 11 billion and 13 billion euros ($13-15 billion).
Analysts at Banca Akros estimated Vodafone Italia’s enterprise value at between 9 and 9.5 billion euros, adding that they expected Iliad could be willing to pay more than 10 billion.
Vodafone Chief Executive Officer Nick Read said last week that the British company was pursuing deals in multiple markets, with Italy listed as one that would benefit from consolidation.
($1 = 0.8760 euros)
Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain, Elvira Pollina and Paul SandleEditing by GV De Clercq, David Goodman and Jane Merriman
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