€8bn Swisscom, Vodafone Italia Deal Approved by Italian Govt

Vodafone Italia's headquarters in Milan, Italy
Vodafone Italia's headquarters in Milan, Italy
Swisscom's €8bn acquisition of Vodafone Italia - which would create Italy's second-biggest broadband operator - has been approved by the Italian government

Swisscom’s €8bn (US$8.7bn) acquisition of Vodafone’s Italian division – a move which would create Italy's second biggest fixed-line broadband operator behind TIM – has been approved by the Italian government.

In a statement, Swisscom said that the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers had “unconditionally approved the acquisition pursuant to the Golden Power legislation” – which grants the Italian government special power to review and impose vetoes, special conditions and prescriptions on certain transactions, investments or corporate resolutions that could prejudice essential Italian public interests.

In March 2024 Vodafone announced that it would be selling the Italian arm of its business to Swisscom, with plans to return €4bn (US$4.4bn) to shareholders. The company had also reportedly weighed up merging with the Italian business of French telco Iliad – but the idea was scrapped when regulatory concerns arose.

Vodafone & Swisscom deal part of ‘portfolio right-sizing’

The move comes as part of what Vodafone describes as its ‘Reshaped European footprint’, the final step of its ‘portfolio right-sizing’ first announced in May 2023.

“Going forward, our businesses will be operating in growing telco markets — where we hold strong positions – enabling us to deliver predictable, stronger growth in Europe, Vodafone Group Chief Executive Margherita Della Valle said in March. “This will be coupled with our acceleration in B2B, as we continue to take share in an expanding digital services market.

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“The sale of Vodafone Italy to Swisscom creates significant value for Vodafone and ensures the business maintains its leading position in Italy, which has been built through the dedicated commitment of our colleagues to serving our customers over many years.”

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2025.

Repositioning Vodafone for future success

The selling of Vodafone’s Italian division is one of several steps that Della Valle has taken to reposition Vodafone as it restructures in less profitable markets, following the sale of Vodafone Spain to Zegona Communications in 2023. A merger proposal has also been submitted to combine Vodafone’s UK business and another major telco player, Three, in a move which would create the UK’s largest mobile phone operator.

Selling the Italian branch, according to Della Valle, is the third and final step to facilitate “predictable, faster growth” for Vodafone across Europe.

In January 2024 Voadone announced that it had signed a 10-year partnership agreement with Microsoft that sees the pair increase offerings of scaled digital platforms to more than 300 million businesses, public sector organisations, and consumers across Europe and Africa. 

Cloud and customer-centric AI services are to be a key focus of the partnership, with Vodafone investing US$1.5bn.

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