CK Hutch’s Wind Tre Said to Weigh Network Infrastructure Spinoff
(Bloomberg) -- CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.’s Italian wireless unit is weighing a spinoff of its remaining network infrastructure in a bid to extract value and raise cash, people familiar with the matter said.
Wind Tre SpA, the country’s No. 3 mobile carrier, is considering separating the infrastructures assets and selling a minority stake in the portfolio to a financial investor, according to the people. It has held initial talks with Swedish private equity firm EQT AB about a potential deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
The assets would likely include the Wind Tre network’s underlying digital and electronic infrastructure, which may be valued at around 2 billion euros to 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion), the people said. Wind Tre is still reviewing which holdings would be included in any spinoff and is considering whether to also include its wireless spectrum in the potential deal, according to the people.
There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, and other potential investors could also emerge, the people said. CK Hutchison in 2020 agreed to sell its European telecommunication tower sites -- including its Italian masts -- to Cellnex Telecom SA for around 10 billion euros.
Representatives for Wind Tre and EQT declined to comment.
Like competitors Telecom Italia SpA and Vodafone Group Plc’s Italian unit, Wind Tre has been grappling with declining profit since the 2018 entrance of France’s Iliad SA kicked off a cutthroat price war.
Wind Tre’s revenue declined 4% to 4.66 billion euros in 2020 while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 5% to 2 billion euros. The company reported a registered customer base of 21.5 million at the end of the year, down about 10% from the previous year.
Wind Tre was formed from the 2016 merger of the Italian operations of CK Hutchison and VimpelCom Ltd. in a transaction valued at 7.9 billion euros.
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