Today, 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.
Fri, May 15, 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.
Wed, May 13, 9:11 AM
- VimpelCom's (NASDAQ:VIP) talks with Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY) about merging their Italian wireless units are centering on an equal split, says VimpelCom CEO Jean-Yves Charlier.
- A merger's been under discussion for some time, though recent speculation over wrapping a deal in the next three months has centered on the exact split of ownership as a top hurdle, along with net debt at VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni operator.
- "We are in discussions with Hutchison regarding a possible equal joint venture between Three Italia SpA and VimpelCom's subsidiary Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA," Charlier said in a statement.
- In premarket action, VIP ADRs are up 3.1%.
- Previously: VimpelCom reports Q1 results (May. 13 2015)
- Previously: Bloomberg: VimpelCom, Hutchison agree on Italy merger management (May. 12 2015)
Tue, May 12, 10:01 AM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) ADRs are up 3.6% in early action on Bloomberg's report that VimpelCom and Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY -0.7%) have come to agreement on senior management in the merger of their Italian mobile businesses, and that Maximo Ibarra (CEO of VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni) has backing to lead the combination.
- Meanwhile, Vincenzo Novari (leader of Hutchison's Three Italia unit) would take a board seat and would supervise Italian businesses for Hutchison Chairman Li Ka-shing, a source tells Bloomberg.
- Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) ADRs are up 4.2% following a similar move up at Borsa Italiana. Completion of the long-coming merger would mean a late-coming consolidation of the Italian market from four wireless networks to three.
- The combo would create Italy's biggest carrier in customer terms, with 30M customers.
Fri, Mar. 27, 11:41 AM
- Wind Telecomunicazioni, the Italian unit of VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP), has closed on selling 90% of its towers business to Spanish firm Abertis (OTCPK:ABRTY), for €693M (about $753M).
- Abertis will name its terrestrial telecoms unit Cellnex Telecom, which will officially exist April 1 with more than 15,000 towers, including the 7,377 towers it's attaining via a 90% stake in Wind's Galata Co.
- The Wind tower business will generate about €200M in revenues in its first year, Cellnex says.
- Wind will provide services on the sites for 15 years, with an option for another 15-year extension.
- Previously: VimpelCom unit sells most of towers business to Abertis (Mar. 02 2015)
- Previously: VimpelCom may draw $1B from impending sale of Italy towers (Feb. 27 2015)
Fri, Mar. 13, 5:29 PM
- Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) been doing its level best to consolidate European telecoms -- by itself if need be -- but very lengthy talks over acquiring VimpelCom's (NASDAQ:VIP) Italian unit Wind Telecomunicazioni are key to cementing its foothold in the continent.
- Hutchison's 3 Italia is the smallest player of Italy's four, with Wind being the third-largest. If the two (finally) merge, they'd have about a third of the market, roughly equal to that of leader Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD).
- Hong Kong-based Hutchison is pushing a $15B takeover of British firm O2 from Telefonica, and has already acquired Orange Austria and O2 Ireland.
- Talks between Hutchison and Wind have been going on for over a year, but in the meantime, Wind's lost customers and gained debt (its net debt is now nearly 5x 2014 EBITDA).
- Previously: FT: VimpelCom, Hutchison again close to closure on Italy merger (Mar. 10 2015)
- Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison reportedly closer to merging Italy operations (Feb. 17 2015)
Tue, Mar. 10, 9:10 PM
- It's a headline you've heard a few times before, but VimpelCom (VIP +1.7%) and Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY -1.2%) are in the advanced stages of merging their Italian units, the Financial Times reports.
- For more than a year, the two firms have been discussing how to merge VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni and Hutchison's Three Italia, the third- and fourth-largest of four competitors in Italy. But a breakthrough may mean Hutchison might get a 51% share of the combination and finally bring it to closure.
- Sound familiar? In a four-competitor market, the smallest two have launched a damaging price war that's pressured everyone in the market. If the two merge, they'd have about a third of the space, roughly equal to that of Telecom Italia (TI -3.4%) and of Vodafone (VOD -1.7%).
- Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison reportedly closer to merging Italy operations (Feb. 17 2015)
Sep. 16, 2014, 6:59 AM
- Although a sale price as high as ~C$300M ($270M) had been rumored earlier, Reuters reports that VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) and Egypt's Global Telecom will sell their stake in wireless carrier Wind Canada to Globalive Capital for C$135M ($122M).
- The proceeds of the sale will go to Vimpelcom, in repayment of part of the debt owed to the company.
- Previously: VimpelCom reportedly nears deal to sell Wind Mobile stake for ~$270M
Sep. 15, 2014, 5:43 PM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is close to selling its stake in Canadian wireless carrier Wind Mobile Canada to Toronto-based Globalive Wireless Management for ~C$300M ($270M), with an announcement expected as soon as tomorrow, according to various reports.
- A deal would cap VIP's struggle to exit the Canadian market following a lengthy regulatory spat over Canada's foreign investment rules.
- A sale also would boost the Canadian government’s effort to create a fourth national wireless carrier to help foster competition and reduce mobile phone rates; the three biggest carriers, Rogers Communications (NYSE:RCI), BCE and Telus (NYSE:TU), together control 90% of the market.
Apr. 18, 2014, 6:36 AM
- Vimpelcom (VIP) unit Global Telecom Holding (GTH) has agreed to sell its 51% stake in Orascom Telecom Algeria (Djezzy) to the Algerian National Investment Fund for $2.6B.
- Djezzy will also pay a dividend of $1.86B to to GTH prior to the closing of the transaction.
- However, Vimpelcom and GTH will take a one-off charge of $2B related to the settlement of a dispute with Algeria.
- GTH will maintain operational control over Orascom Telecom Algeria. (PR)
Dec. 23, 2013, 4:07 AM
- VimpelCom (VIP) is considering selling Italian mobile unit Wind, merging it with a rival, or refinancing its $14B of debts, the FT reports.
- The Russian telecom carrier has held talks with Hong Kong based Hutchison Whampoa, the parent company of Wind competitor Three. However, the discussions didn't turn into negotiations over a merger or sale.
Aug. 15, 2013, 9:18 AM
- Sources tell The Globe and Mail, which appears to have a good handle on Verizon's (VZ) Canadian expansion plans, Verizon has decided to delay making bids for smaller local carriers Wind (65%-owned by VIP) and Moblicity until a January spectrum auction is finished.
- The paper adds Verizon "will focus on deciding whether to participate" in the auction. The change of heart that suggests the carrier could be having second thoughts about expanding north, or might simply be trying to drive a harder bargain (either with the carriers or regulators).
- A previous report claimed Verizon had made a ~$700M offer for Wind, and had held talks with Moblicity.
- BMO has argued a Canadian acquisition would pay for itself just via roaming fee savings. Incumbent Canadian carriers (BCE, RCI, TU) have been less than thrilled about Verizon's plans, and apparent government support for them.
Jul. 5, 2013, 3:14 AMAs expected, Telecom Italia (TI) has ended talks with Hutchison Whampoa (HUWHF.PK) about merging their Italian mobile phone units, as the "elements necessary to start (formal) negotiations" weren't in place. TI will now focus on its plan to spin off its fixed-line operations, while Hutchison may look to merge its subsidiary, 3 Italia, with Vimpelcom (VIP) unit Wind. | Comment!
Jun. 26, 2013, 9:25 AMVerizon (VZ) has made an initial offer of ~$700M for Canadian mobile carrier Wind Mobile, The Globe and Mail reports. The paper adds Verizon has also recently talked with Moblicity, another second-tier Canadian carrier, and is thinking about taking part in upcoming spectrum auctions. Analysts think the total cost of entering the Canadian will amount to $1B-$2B. CFO Fran Shammo recently admitted Big Red is thinking of entering Canada, but added regulatory issues could get in the way. VimpelCom (VIP) owns 65% of Wind; founder Anthony Lacavera owns 35%, and recently said he wants to buy VimpelCom's stake. (previous) | 2 Comments
Jun. 19, 2013, 4:34 AMVerizon (VZ) is interested in acquiring Canadian peer Wind Mobile, the U.S company has said. Verizon has reportedly held talks for Wind, which is a relatively new entry into the Canadian market and is struggling. VimpelCom (VIP), Wind's largest owner, wants around $500M, although Verizon may then have to pump in another $1-2B for spectrum purchases, network upgrades and consolidation costs. RBC analyst Drew McReynolds is not sure the deal makes sense. | 7 Comments
Jun. 17, 2013, 9:33 AMVerizon (VZ) wants to enter the Canadian mobile market, and has "held exploratory talks" with minor local carrier Wind, The Globe and Mail reports. The Canadian government, fresh off relaxing foreign investment limits, is said to view Verizon "as the most likely foreign option" for bolstering competition in a market dominated by Telus (TU), Rogers (RCI), and Bell (BCE); ideally, Verizon would buy a small local carrier, then take part in upcoming spectrum auctions. Russia's VimpelCom (VIP), the biggest investor in Wind, wants to sell its stake for $500M+. Telus' efforts to buy another small rival, Moblicity, were recently blocked by Ottawa. | Comment!
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