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Swisscom makes offer on FastWeb

Switzerland’s biggest phone company Swisscom, has offered to buy Italian player, FastWeb for Eur 3.7bn (£2.5bn) in cash. The Swiss firm offered Eur 47 for each FastWeb share in a friendly takeover bid.

FastWeb’s board will meet later Monday to discuss the bid, it said.

If the sale goes through, it will be the biggest for state-controlled Swisscom since the government banned the former monopoly from buying foreign incumbent telcos in 2005. In the same year, the Swiss parliament blocked Swisscom’s attempted takeover of Irish incumbent Eircom.

The company’s chief executive officer, Carsten Schloter, said the Swiss government supports the purchase which could complete as early as June.

“Italy is one of the most attractive broadband markets in Europe with significant expected growth potential over the next few years,” Swisscom said in a statement.

Swisscom said the deal was contingent on obtaining 50 per cent plus 1 share in Fastweb. Swisscom would fund the deal via debt and by placing 4.9 million shares held in its treasury, it said.

Swisscom has had a poor run with four consecutive quarters of falling profit. It is fighting for market share at home where competition has led to fierce price cutting.

In 2005, the government blocked a bid for the company from Irish incumbent, Eircom.

At the end of 2006, Vodafone sold a 25 per cent stake in Swisscom for £1.8bn

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