Marathon talks end with mobile merger

VimpelCom’s Wind and Hutchison’s Three will be combined into a joint venture

VimpelCom and Hutchison Whampoa are to merge their Italian mobile phone units, bringing to an end more than two years of talks and reducing another European market to three operators.

VimpelCom's Wind and Hutchison's Three will be combined into a joint venture with €6.4 billion in annual revenues that will control roughly a third of the Italian market – equivalent to the share of rivals Telecom Italia and Vodafone. Other European countries are also seeing consolidation in the telecoms industry as operators respond to years of falling revenues and the need for investment.

Hutchison, which is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, is awaiting approval of its £10 billion n purchase of the UK’s O2, in another deal that would shrink the market to three large operators. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2015