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TIM seeking $21.5bn for landline network

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Telecom Italia is seeking around US$21.5 billion for its landline network according to reports.

Interest in the Italian operator’s landline business has grown as its growing debt continues to rise and the company has plans to sell it to Italy’s state lender according to Bloomberg sources.

The proceeds of any sale will allow the operator to cut its debt while accelerating the plan made by CEO Pietro Labriola to avoid a full sale to US hedge fund KKR.

The sources indicated that this valuation is preliminary and could be subject to change.

TIM shares rose by more than 5% following reports that it had struck a deal with Open Fiber for a combined broadband network.

The two groups signed a preliminary agreement and would see state lender CDP take a 70-77% stake in the merged business.

The plan also involves KKR and Macquarie Asset Management but is still subject to the approval of EU antitrust authorities.

TIM has struggled with debt for decades, even despite a rebranding in 2015. Given the landscape of the competitive Italian market, its troubles have deepened, and the company has failed in its plans to roll out a strong fibre network in Italy.

As the uncertainty around TIM continues, the company revealed that it would be focusing on smart cities by acquiring Mindicity.

The operation stems from an agreement between Olivetti - TIM's digital company for IoT solutions and fabbricadigitale Srl.

The takeover of the tech company which specialises in managing smart cities will allow TIM to expand its portfolio of solutions and its regarded as "an important step of the TIM Group towards consolidating its leadership in offering IoT solutions for building Italian cities of the future".

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