TIM starts network merger talks with CDP - Mobile World Live

TIM starts network merger talks with CDP

04 APR 2022

Telecom Italia signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with state lender CDP to start talks on a potential merger of its fixed network with state-backed Open Fiber, reviving a long-standing plan to create a single fibre network company in Italy following an internal revamp.

In a statement, the Italian operator noted it aims to agree a memorandum of understanding with CDP by 30 April to define the objectives, structure and main evaluation criteria for the integration project.

The move is also seen as a further sign Telecom Italia is pursuing an alternative path to a takeover by US investor KKR, which submitted a €10.8 billion non-binding offer for the group in November 2021.

Earlier this year, CEO Pietro Labriola (pictured) then outlined a plan to separate the Italian operator into two units by splitting infrastructure assets from services operations.

Although KKR’s plan for Telecom Italia was said to be similar, Labriola is reportedly convinced doing it internally could generate more value for investors.

Telecom Italia only started formal talks to assess KKR’s offer in the middle of March.

KKR reportedly remained keen on buying into Telecom Italia, but now appears to be showing signs of impatience over the operator’s delay in discussing its offer.

Reuters reported KKR was expected to tell TIM on today (4 April) that it will not submit a formal bid unless it is able to carry out due diligence as requested from the start.

KKR owns 37.5 per cent of Telecom Italia’s FiberCop fixed-line business and also reportedly wanted to discuss the implications of an Open Fiber merger.

Last week, Telecom Italia received a non-binding proposal from CVC Capital Partners for a minority stake in the new enterprise services which would be created under Labriola’s proposals.

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Anne Morris

Anne Morris is a freelance journalist and contributes news and analysis to Mobile World Live.

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