Signaling a shift in the Swiss government’s stance toward foreign acquisitions, Swisscom launched an unsolicited, yet friendly €3.7 billion (U.S. $4.9 billion) cash bid for Fastweb, the second-largest broadband network operator in Italy. Monday’s offer represents the first major foreign foray for state-controlled Swisscom since the government restricted foreign purchases by the company—forcing Swisscom to withdraw a pending offer for Irish fixed line provider Eircomm—in 2005. Noting that its board foresees “good development opportunities” in the Swisscom proposal, Fastweb welcomed the offer and confirmed that its chairman and largest shareholder, Silvio Scaglia, was ready to transfer his 18.75% stake unless a better offer is received. Boasting 1.06 million customers and a 13% share of Italy’s broadband market, Fastweb is the only operator in Italy to offer a triple play package of voice, data, and IP video services via a €3 billion fiber optic network that reaches 45% of the Italian population. Noting that the Swiss government “is fully informed about all aspects of this transaction,” Swisscom termed Italy as “one of the most attractive broadband markets in Europe with significant expected growth potential over the next few years.” The offer is contingent upon Swisscom obtaining more than 50% of the shares of Fastweb, which would remain a stand-alone operation—retaining its technology and brand—upon completion of the transaction.