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Italian Network Merger Talks Close to Conclusion

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The long running rumours of a possible merger between two of Italy's mobile networks are reported to have been revived.

Hutchision Whampoa is said to be close to a deal to merge its Italian network with VimpelCom's local Italian unit, Wind Italia, Bloomberg news reports, citing unnamed people familiar with the talks.

The main sticking point is on the issue of control of the enlarged company, with Hutchison Whampoa wanting management control, while VimpelCom is said to be seeking equal parity between the two shareholders.

The merged networks would collectively hold around 35 percent of the market, with some 30 million customers. That would put them roughly equal to the market leader, Telecom Italia.

Vodafone would be pushed down to third place in the market if the merger were to go ahead.

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Tags: three  wind  hutchison whampoa  vimpelcom  Italy