It's a frequently occurring rumour, but a new report suggests that Swisscom is in discussions on a possible deal for its Italian unit, Fastweb, with Vodafone regarded as a likely candidate to buy the broadband provider.
Swisscom relied on its fixed-line business for growth in the first quarter of 2014, as growing subscriber numbers at the Swiss incumbent's wireless business failed to translate into higher revenues.
Portuguese cable operators could be among Vodafone's next acquisition targets as the mobile giant bulks up its fixed-line assets across Europe, and companies owned by Altice have been cited as potential contenders for such a deal.
Swisscom has once again shot down any hopes that Italian broadband provider Fastweb could be available to potential buyers--at least for now.
Swisscom suggested it was a victim of its own success in 2013, with higher costs associated with increased investment impacting net profit for the year.
Vodafone managed to clinch its € 7.7 billion ($10.2 billion) acquisition of Kabel Deutschland, paving the way for the company to offer bundles of telecommunications services in Germany. Vodafone's bid for Kabel Deutschland had been threatened by investors seeking better terms.
After Vodafone confirmed this week it is in talks with Verizon Communications to sell its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon, reports now suggest that the remaining Vodafone assets could fall prey to AT&T, which has reportedly been seeking potential European acquisitions this year. Meanwhile other rumours suggest Vodafone could swap its U.S. stake for Liberty Global.
Telecom Italia is back at square one after various plans to revive the indebted company unravelled in recent weeks, causing the operator's share price to fall to a record low.
Vodafone has a bumpy history when it comes to acquisitions, with some expensive fallouts from large deals of the past. Renewed efforts to buy fixed and cable operators in Europe may fuel speculation even further (if that's still possible) that a sale of its Verizon Wireless stake is imminent, but the equation for Vodafone is far from simple.
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.