(Bloomberg) -- Iliad SA, the French carrier backed by telecom billionaire Xavier Niel, has made an offer for Vodafone’s Italian unit, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The French company submitted a bid to Vodafone’s board last week, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Vodafone is currently looking for merger opportunities in the U.K., Spain, Italy and Portugal, Chief Executive Officer Nick Read said on Wednesday.
Bloomberg previously reported that activist investor Cevian Capital AB has taken a stake in Newbury, England-based Vodafone and is agitating for change, including selling some operations or pursuing stock buybacks.
Vodafone approached wireless rival Three UK, owned by CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., while Reuters and El Confidencial reported talks in Italy and Spain respectively.
Iliad is also considering a move to purchase a rival phone carrier in Italy if the opportunity arises, local unit Chief Executive Officer Benedetto Levi said in an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg News in January.
Iliad moved into the Italian mobile services market in 2018 as a no-frills challenger, sparking a price war that last year led to three profit warnings by ex-monopolist Telecom Italia SpA.
Italy is one among world’s most competitive markets for mobile services, with rivals including CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd’s Wind Tre SpA already active.
Representatives from Vodafone and Iliad could not be reached for comment.
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