Telecom Italian investors open to takeover bid
04 September 2013 | Kavit Majithia
Investors in Telecom Italia are reportedly seeking to sell their stake in the company, which could leave the Italian operator open to a takeover bid.
There are increased expectations that the industry will be shaken up following Verizon Communications’ $130 billion deal to buy Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless, with Telecom Italia seen as a potential acquisition target.
Telecom Italia is controlled by shareholders through the Telco holding company, but the fund has so far failed to find partners to inject new funds into the company. Telecom Italia has suffered from recession in its home market, with net debt reaching more than €28 billion.
Italian investors are reportedly prepared to sell their shares at the first opportunity and leave Telco by 28 September this year.
Spain-based Telefónica has the largest stake in Telco and will have first refusal on the shares, or risk a bigger rival taking a stake in the company.
Vodafone, Telefónica, Japan-based Softbank and a partnership between AT&T and América Móvil could emerge as possible bidders for the Italian incumbent.
Telco’s 22.4% stake in Telecom Italia is valued at €10 billion at the present market price, according to Reuters.
Telefónica is reportedly intent on keeping its stake in Telecom Italia, but a full buyout of Telco’s shares may be opposed by regulators, as the Spanish company also directly competes with Telecom Italia.
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