updated 12:05 pm EST, Fri January 22, 2010
Telefonica could get presence in Italy via bid
Italian newspaper la Repubblica stirred talk of a shift in the phone world on Friday with a claim that Telefonica would soon place a bid for Telecom Italia (TIM). Drawing on an online source from earlier, the daily claims Telefonica would use a holding company's share swap to take control. It would pay a 25 to 30 percent premium to provide an incentive for the deal.
Neither of the involved companies has commented on the supposed negotiations.
A deal of the sort could likely shake up the Italian phone market and Europe as a whole. Based in Spain, Telefonica operates through most of Europe under the O2 badge but hasn't had a footing in Italy. Foreign carriers like Vodafone operate in Italy, but TIM has remained independent; an acquisition by Telefonica would put two of the larger providers into outside control.
TIM is currently one of three iPhone carriers in the area, but deals for Apple's handset and other devices would potentially come sooner after a Telefonica buyout as the latter could negotiate continent-wide deals.