Report: Vodafone adds Fastweb to shopping wish list

Hot on the heels of its approach to Kabel Deutschland, Vodafone is also eyeing a possible acquisition of Italian broadband provider Fastweb as part of its quad-play push, according to a  Bloomberg report, although both Vodafone and Fastweb parent Swisscom declined to comment on the report.

Earlier this week Vodafone confirmed it was in early talks with the German cable operator, and is widely expected to be facing a bill of around €7 billion ($9.32 billion) should a deal go ahead. The latest reports now suggest that Vodafone may raise its offer for Kabel Deutschland after its initial bid was rejected, possibly as soon as next week, according to a Reuters report, which cited an unnamed source.

According to Bloomberg, which also cited unnamed sources, Vodafone is considering a similar tactic in Italy as it explores ways of adding fixed-line services to its mobile offerings across Europe. However, the report added that the current focus for Vodafone remains on Kabel Deutschland.

Fastweb is Italy's third-largest retail broadband operator with 1.9 million customers and a book value of €2.9 billion ($3.9 billion). Bloomberg noted that Vodafone has already made informal approaches to Fastweb this year and in 2011 that were rejected by Swisscom.

As in Germany, where Vodafone recently signed an agreement to use Deutsche Telekom's VDSL network to support its fixed-line broadband and TV offerings, Vodafone also has a deal with fixed operators in Italy. Vodafone uses the network of Telecom Italia, and also signed a deal last year to use the FTTH network of Metroweb in Milan.

Vodafone has previously said it is interested in a possible investment in Metroweb, which plans to roll out FTTH in 30 cities in Italy over the next four years at a cost of €4.5 billion. After Milan, the next target cities are Genoa, Bologna, Turin, Brescia, Padua and Como. Swisscom Italy, the parent of Fastweb, also owns an 11.1 per cent stake in Metroweb.

Meanwhile, Telecom Italia and Fastweb signed a cooperation agreement late last year on the development of a fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) network.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article

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