Sawiris signals Wind's Italian M&A intentions

Wind Mobile, Italy's third largest mobile operator, has indicated its interest in merging with or acquiring other Italian fixed or mobile operators. According to the Egyptian tycoon, Naguib Sawiris, who sold Wind to Vimeplcom earlier this year, said the company is open to integrating with companies such as 3 Italia, Fastweb or Tiscali.

"We have (an) appetite to grow our business," Sawiris said at a news conference earlier this week, according to Reuters. "We believe there (are) synergies but until there is something concrete we cannot say anything more than that. There is nothing concrete right now."

Wind, which is aggressively expanding its branded service in Canada, has undergone a recovery in its fortunes in Italy after boosting network coverage together with a focus on higher value subscribers. The firm indicated its intentions to grow within its home market by floating the idea last year that it would be interested in acquiring rival BT Italia. Nothing more came of this idea after BT Italia rejected the suggestion.

Sawiris, who has a reputation of generating market speculation, was until recently the majority shareholder in Wind through his Orascom Telecom company. However, Orascom was sold earlier this year to Vimplecom for $6 billion with Sawiris remaining as a key shareholder in the Russian-based operator.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)

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Vimpelcom becomes global player through $20bn Wind merger
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