UK mobile operator Vodafone Group Plc (LON:VOD) is looking at buying Italian retail broadband operator Fastweb SpA, part of Swisscom AG (VTX:SCMN), as part of its investment strategy for Europe, Bloomberg reported, citing knowledgeable sources.
A possible purchase would allow the buyer to enhance its fixed-line and Internet business, the people said, adding that Swisscom had already turned down two informal approaches by Vodafone for Fastweb this year and in 2011.
Vodafone is considering options to use the proceeds from a possible divestment of its 45% stake in US mobile firm Verizon Wireless, which could fetch over $100bn (€75bn). Fastweb said in May that it was the third biggest player in Italy with a book value of €2.9bn ($3.9bn) and 1.9m customers.
According to the sources, the UK firm’s priority is to complete the acquisition of German cable operator Kabel Deutschland Holding AG (ETR:KD8) for at least $9bn. The target confirmed earlier this week that it had received a preliminary approach from Vodafone.
Vodafone spokesman Simon Gordon and Swisscom spokesman Carsten Roetz did not wish to comment.