Update: Telecom Italia has denied reports of them closing a deal with Unitech Wireless; a spokesperson told Reuters that the story is baseless.
Original Story: So is it Telecom Italia, or is it Telenor? The Economic Times, which had reported last week that negotiations between Unitech Wireless and Telecom Italia had reached a dead-end because the Italian telco was stuck to a $1 Billion valuation for the company, now reports that they’re picking up a 49 percent stake for $2 Billion. So that’s a post-money valuation of $4 Billion, while Unitech had been reportedly seeking a valuation of $3 Billion? Something doesn’t fit, and the deal isn’t official yet.
Speculation is rife particularly because Unitech had earlier announced that the deal will be sealed by the end of this month. They have plans to roll out services early next year. Unitech was reported to have been in talks with Telenor, but we feel that might have national security implications since Telenor has operations in both Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Telecom Italia looks a better bet then – it has GSM operations in Brazil and Europe. The TIM Brasil Group is the second telco Brazil, with a 26 percent marketshare, with 32.5 million lines. The group also has MVNO operations with 02 in Germany, with 423,000 customers. They have broadband operations in Germany and Holland, with 2.5 million customers under the Alice brand.
(Sad joke: if Unitech decides to offer both GSM and CDMA services…will they have to go in for rebranding?)
— Telecom Italia H1 2008 Results and Company Profile (PDF)
— Telecom Italia Group Targets for 2008-2010
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