(Reuters) – Swiss telecoms company Swisscom announced on Friday that it would acquire the Italian operations of the Vodafone group for 8 billion euros and merge the company with its local subsidiary Fastweb.

The operation will create the second Italian fixed broadband telephony operator, behind TIM, with a strong presence in the popular business segment.

The transaction amount will be settled entirely in cash and financed by debt, Swisscom said.

The transaction is expected to be finalized during the first quarter of 2025 and will not require a shareholder vote, the company said.

Swisscom, whose controlling shareholder is the Swiss government, has operated in Italy since 2007 through Fastweb, whose business has grown by 50% in terms of customers and revenues over the past ten years.

In the wake of this announcement, the Vodafone group declared that it would return 4 billion euros of capital to its shareholders.

This return on investment is also enabled by the sale of Vodafone’s Spanish unit, which was approved last year.

The company said its dividend would be reduced to 4.5 euro cents per share from the 2025 financial year, and that the 4 billion euros in capital would be returned through share buybacks.

(Reporting John Revill and Paul Sandle, Kate Entringer)

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