Hutch denies €4bn for 3 Italia deal

Hutchison Whampoa denied an Italian newspaper report that Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris had offered to buy its struggling 3 Italia telecoms unit for close to €4 billion (US$6.3 billion).

A Reuters report also said the daily newspaper La Repubblica reported on that Sawiris, who owns Italian mobile phone operator Wind, wanted to expand his empire.

But Hutchison said the report was incorrect, the Reuters report said.

'There is no transaction. Our group is financially strong,' said Laura Cheung, a Hutchison spokeswoman, quoted by the report.

The newspaper added that Sawiris had proposed a deal to Hutchison owner and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, who thought Sawiris' initial offer too low and who now appeared to be seeking another €1 billion (US$1.6 billion) on top of that.