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Hutchison, VimpelCom Said in Exclusive Sale Talks With Iliad

  • French carrier would be new entrant in Italy’s phone market
  • Hutchison, VimpelCom selling assets to win approval for merger
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Iliad SA emerged as the favored buyer of wireless assets in Italy that would be used to create a fourth carrier in the country as CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. and VimpelCom Ltd., seeking approval to merge their own units, sell towers and frequencies they don’t need.

Hutchison and VimpelCom entered exclusive negotiations with the French carrier, founded by billionaire Xavier Niel, said people familiar with the matter, asking not to be named since the talks are private. Iliad would be a new entrant in Italy, adding to competition in the market as VimpelCom’s Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA and Hutchison’s 3 Italia combine. Swisscom AG’s Fastweb also bid for the assets.