Sale of Italy's Wind Tre telecoms network to EQT falls through

MILAN, Feb 13 (Reuters) - A plan for Italian telecoms firm Wind Tre to sell control of its network to Swedish fund EQT Infrastructure EQTAB.ST has fallen through as conditions to close the deal were not met, Wind Tre controlling investor CK Hutchinson and EQT said on Tuesday.

Announced last May, the deal envisaged EQT taking a 60% stake in Wind Tre's newly-created network venture, comprising radio antennas, base stations and associated contracts. The business was valued at 3.4 billion euros ($3.7 billion).

"As the conditions were not satisfied...the transaction will not proceed," said Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison 0001.HK, which controls Wind Tre.

In a separate statement, EQT confirmed the decision to scrap the deal but added it would continue exploring potential alternative transactions, also with CK Hutchinson.

The completion of the sale has been hampered by separate network agreements between Wind Tre and rival operators, which had forced parties to postpone the deadline for the closing to Feb. 12 and ultimately sunk the deal, sources have said.

Italian telecoms operators are looking at M&A to reshape a market grappling with aggressive price competition that eroded earnings, just as these companies face a heavy outlay to upgrade their network infrastructure.

Former phone monopoly Telecom Italia (TIM) TLIT.MI plans to sell its fixed-line network to U.S. fund KKR KKR.N, while Vodafone VOD.Lis reportedly in talks to combine its local operations with rival Fastweb. ($1 = 0.9282 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina Editing by Keith Weir)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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