Fri, Jul. 8, 1:57 PM
- European regulators are set to clear a long-in-the-works mobile merger in Italy, Reuters reports.
- The European Commission -- lately prone to blocking telecom consolidation on the continent -- is ready to sign off on a €21.8B combination of Three Italia, owned by Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY), with Wind Telecomunicazioni, owned by VimpelCom (VIP +1.7%).
- Hutchison saw a similar deal blocked by the EC, to merge its Three UK unit with Telefonica's O2.
- The move would make the combo the biggest wireless provider in Italy, competing against Vodafone (VOD +1.3%) and Telecom Italia (TI +2.3%), though Hutchison and VimpelCom agreed to concessions and asset sales to help create a new entrant in France's low-cost provider Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY -4.2%).
- The EC is scheduled to officially rule on the case by Sept. 8.
Wed, Jul. 6, 1:56 PM
- Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) and VimpelCom (VIP +0.3%) -- trying to merge their Italian units Three Italia and Wind Telecomunicazioni -- have submitted a new concession plan to European regulators in the wake of a new entrant to the Italian market.
- The two have worked against tough odds for months to merge the units into Italy's biggest wireless provider, but their agreement to sell spectrum, sites and services to enable France's Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY) to enter the market have likely changed the game.
- European regulators have taken a tougher approach to telecom consolidation under Margrethe Vestager. Regulators vetoed Hutchison's bid for O2 in the UK in May, and last year Sweden's TeliaSonera and Norway's Telenor called off a merger of their Danish operations after EC opposition.
- Facing the increased likelihood that it will be displaced as Italy's largest wireless carrier, Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) is now down 8.8% in U.S. trading. It closed down 10.8% in Milan.
Tue, Jul. 5, 4:22 AM
- Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY) is reportedly in exclusive talks with Hutchison (OTCPK:CKHUY) and Vimpelcom (NASDAQ:VIP) to buy wireless assets in Italy, marking founder Xavier Niel's third attempt to expand his business outside of France.
- A deal would create a fourth mobile operator in the country and pave the way for CK Hutchison and Vimpelcom to merge their 3 Italia and Wind units.
- An EU antitrust decision could come by the end of the week.
Fri, Jul. 1, 5:39 PM
- VimpelCom (VIP -1.8%), its unit Global Telecom Holding, and Dhabi Group shareholders say they have wrapped the transaction to merge VimpelCom's Mobilink (Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited) and Warid Telecom into Pakistan's leading provider.
- The players had announced a deal to combine the businesses last November; it's received regulatory approval from relevant parties, and Mobilink has acquired 100% of Warid's shares, while Dhabi Group shareholders have acquired 15% of Mobilink's shares.
- Aamir Ibrahim will take over as CEO of the new combination from Jeffrey Hedberg.
- The transaction is expected to create capex and opex synergies with net present value of about $500M, with an annual run rate north of $100M in free cash flow improvements by year three, VimpelCom says.
Thu, May 12, 3:07 PM
- With the merger of Three UK (OTCPK:HUWHY) and O2 (NYSE:TEF) blocked by Europe, casting a shadow on other deals, VimpelCom (VIP +3.1%) still expects it can complete a €21.8B merger in Italy this year.
- The company has been laboring to merge its Italian unit, Wind Telecomunicazioni, with Hutchison's Three Italia to combine the No. 3 and No. 4 mobile operators in the country.
- Europe opened a full probe into the Italy deal in March, and reports say it's getting a tough look.
- VimpelCom gained today as its earnings showed organic revenue growth of 4% and a net profit that rose 3% despite a 19% drop in EBITDA.
- Now read Russian Telecoms: Perspectives And Ideas For 2016 »
Thu, Apr. 21, 3:49 PM
- VimpelCom (VIP -1.7%) and Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) have an extension to finish a slowgoing merger of their Italian operations, to Aug. 18.
- The companies asked for more time to combine Wind Telecomunicazioni (VimpelCom's unit) and Three Italia (Hutchison's).
- The combo, which would merge the No. 3 and No. 4 mobile operators in Italy, s getting a hard look from European competition regulators.
- Meanwhile, VimpelCom priced $1.2B in bonds in two tranches -- $500M in 6.25% senior notes due 2020, and $700M in 7.25% senior notes due 2023.
- That offering should settle on Tuesday; proceeds will be used for general purposes.
- Now read Russian Telecoms: Perspectives And Ideas For 2016 »
Thu, Apr. 7, 2:54 PM
- The long-in-the-making merger of Italy's No. 3 and No. 4 mobile operators is getting a hard look for antitrust concerns at the European Commission, CTFN says.
- Wind Telecomunicazioni -- the Italian unit of Vimpelcom (VIP -3%) -- and Hutchison's (OTCPK:HUWHY) Three Italia submitted remedies to the EC, but beyond that a source says the commission will make sure there's a third party who's interested in acquiring divested frequencies.
- Failing that, the combo could be blocked. The EC had opened a full probe into the tie-up last week after rebuffing an effort from Italy's government to take over the review.
- The EC is concerned about "higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation for mobile customers in Italy."
- Now read Russian Telecoms: Perspectives And Ideas For 2016 »
Wed, Mar. 30, 4:46 PM
- The European Commission has opened an in-depth probe into the deal to merge Italian operations between Hutchision (OTCPK:HUWHY) and VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP), with a focus on the effect it will have on consumer prices.
- The long-discussed combination of Hutchison's Three Italia with VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni "could lead to higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation for mobile customers in Italy," the EC says.
- The two companies will cooperate with the investigation into a deal that would reduce Italy's market to three players and create its biggest mobile carrier by subscriber numbers.
- The news follows a stronger line by the EC on Hutchison's plan for its takeover of O2 in the UK as well. The EC will take 90 days to examine the Three-Wind deal, with an Aug. 10 deadline to decide on the deal.
- Previously: EC reportedly reviewing remedies to enable Italy telecom merger (Mar. 22 2016)
- Previously: Italian regulators ask EC to transfer review of €21.8B telecom merger (Feb. 26 2016)
Tue, Mar. 22, 12:03 PM
- The European Commission is reviewing remedies proposed by VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) and Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY) to enable their long-awaited merger of Italy operations, CTFN reports.
- The companies' Italian units -- VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni and Hutchison's Three Italia -- agreed to a 50-50 combination in a €21.8B deal last August after lengthy talks. The combination would surpass Telecom Italia's TIM and Vodafone in total customers.
- The EC was set to issue a preliminary decision earlier this month but extended its deadline to March 30 as it discusses commitments from the carriers, including frequency divestment, to make the deal happen.
- No price controls are likely to come in at an end-user level, a source tells CTFN, but some restrictions may come at the wholesale level -- welcome news for the country's MVNOs, which buy and re-sell service.
Nov. 18, 2015, 10:09 AM
- Russia-focused telecom VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is up 4% in early going after announcing it's selling out of its interests in Zimbabwe.
- The firm owns a stake in Telecel International -- which owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe -- through its subsidiary operation Global Telecom Holding. That unit has entered a deal with ZARNet to transfer its interest in Telecel International for $40M.
- ZARNet, wholly owned by Zimbabwe's government, will take over the Telecel stake after customary closing.
- Previously: VimpelCom -7.3% as one-time items drive billion-dollar loss (Nov. 06 2015)
Oct. 22, 2015, 3:16 PM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) has moved up sharply during the past hour to its intraday peak, up 7.3% in a rebound after overnight reports that it's hired UBS, Merrill Lynch and TAP Advisors to help it explore strategic options including a $5B sale of a cell tower portfolio.
- The company is shopping about 50,000 towers in Russia and former Soviet republics, Bloomberg reported.
- VimpelCom could create a holding company with a partner instead, sources said. Its Wind unit in Italy agreed to sell a stake in its towers to Abertis for $784M.
- The company is pursuing cost reduction as it looks to boost cash flow, and a global trend of towers divestment could help there. “We continue to monitor trends in the global telecoms market and looking at effective business models for tower infrastructure, which help reduce costs and construction time, aid geographical expansion and increase quality for consumers at an attractive price,” the company says.
Oct. 5, 2015, 10:26 AM
- In a strategic shift, Norway's Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +2.5%) is divesting its "challenging" multibillion-dollar stake in Russia telecom provider VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP)
- VimpelCom ADRs were up 2.7% in the early going in U.S. trading.
- Telenor has a 33% stake in VimpelCom that is worth more than $2.4B. “The VimpelCom asset, where Telenor holds a minority position without the possibility to fully control the company, has been challenging,“ says its chairman, Svein Aaser.
- The probes in the U.S. and the Netherlands into possible bribery at VimpelCom have raised controversy in Norway over Telenor's holding.
- The sale could take some time, and Telenor says it's expecting a related noncash impairment of 7.5B Norwegian krone (about $900M) against Q3 earnings.
- Previously: U.S. telecom probe seeking to seize $1B in European assets (Aug. 13 2015)
Aug. 6, 2015, 9:47 AM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is up 3.8% after the company finally came to agreement to merge its Italy unit, Wind Telecomunicazioni, with Hutchison's (OTCPK:HUWHY) Three Italia, in a €21.8B deal (about $24B), creating a telecom carrier that would surpass Telecom Italia (TI -1.9%) as Italy's leader in total customers, with more than 31M.
- The talks -- in progress for well over a year -- result in a 50/50 venture where Wind's CEO Maximo Ibarra will keep his role while Three's COO Dina Ravera will oversee integration. Each firm will nominate three board members to a six-member board.
- The deal values Wind at €13.9B and Three at €7.9B. An IPO for the JV was reported to be considered earlier, though VimpelCom CEO Jean-Yves Charlier says they haven't discussed one.
- The transaction requires antitrust approval from Europe, but Italy is late to the consolidation game, as countries like Germany, Ireland and Austria had previously gone from four carriers to three.
- The companies say the deal will deliver cost savings of more than €5B, mainly from combining the mobile networks.
- VimpelCom also posted Q2 results where its Q2 revenues narrowly beat expectations despite a 26% drop.
Jul. 29, 2015, 5:44 PM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) finished a steady climb today to close up 15.8%, again on (new) chatter that it might be close to merging its Italian operation, Wind Telecomunicazioni, with Hutchison's (OTCPK:HUWHY) Three Italia to create the country's largest mobile company.
- Talks between the two have been going on for well over a year and they have been reported to be close to a deal several times, though Bloomberg is reporting that a deal could be announced in the coming week, which could include a capital increase of €2B.
- Two months ago, talk centered on an equal venture for the two companies and an IPO for the combination, which would have more than 30M customers. Wind and Three posted about €2B in combined EBITDA for 2014, which could mean a deal worth $18B at standard multiples.
- Hong Kong-based Hutchison has been trying to pursue European telecom consolidation, and the Italy talks mark a critical foothold in the continent if it's to be part of that.
- Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison consider IPO for Italy unit merger (May. 27 2015)
- Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison Italy merger talk focuses on even split (May. 13 2015)
- Previously: Bloomberg: VimpelCom, Hutchison agree on Italy merger management (May. 12 2015)
- Previously: Italy deal key to Hutchison Whampoa's European telecom hopes (Mar. 13 2015)
May 27, 2015, 9:08 AM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) and Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY) -- long in talks to merge their Italy wireless units -- are considering an IPO for the combination, Bloomberg reports.
- A combination of VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni and Hutchison's Three Italia would have the largest customer base in Italy and become the chief challenger to Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI).
- The two posted about €2B in combined EBITDA for 2014, and at standard 8x multiples, the combination could be valued up to $18B, though Wind is carrying debt of close to €10B.
- They've been in merger discussions for more than a year, though coming to terms on an equal marriage could come this summer before perhaps a year of seeking regulator OKs.
May 15, 2015, 2:52 PM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is among the highest-gaining telecoms of the day, up 5.1%, after a couple of analysts raised price targets following news of progress on VIP's (slow) Italy merger talks.
- RBC Capital raised its price target on shares to $6.50, and maintains a rating of Outperform.
- Meanwhile, Renaissance Capital today raised the price target to $5.10 (from $4.40) while downgrading the stock to Sell.
- For well over a year, VimpelCom has been talking with Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY) about merging its Wind Telecomunicazioni with Hutchison's Three Italia (Nos. 3 and 4 in the Italy market) to take on market leader Telecom Italia. On Wednesday, discussions centered on an even split in the merger.
- Shares are trading currently at $6.35.
VimpelCom Ltd. is an integrated telecommunications service operator. The company provides voice and data services through a range of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Algeria,... More
Industry: Wireless Communications
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