Vivendi reportedly opened the door to the possibility of handing control of Telecom Italia’s fixed-line network to the Italian government, as it looks to stave off a takeover bid for the operator by investment company KKR.
A Vivendi representative told Reuters Telecom Italia’s largest shareholder was interested in “any solution that promoted the efficiency and modernity of the network, while preserving the value of its investment”.
“In this perspective, the hypothesis of a state control of the network, if it could lead to an institutionally-guided strategic project, will certainly be evaluated with openness.”
The comments are the strongest sign yet that Vivendi would be willing to cede control of the operator’s fixed network and hand the reins to the government, after previously dragging its feet over the issue.
Italy’s government is keen to gain control over Telecom Italia’s fixed-line business, as it serves as the country’s main telecoms infrastructure and is a vital part of its plans to ramp broadband rollout across the country, which will be aided by more than €6 billion from the European Union as part of a new scheme.
State investor CDP also owns a 10 per cent stake in Telecom Italia, which it took to oversee the company’s fixed network, and is likely to play a key role in deciding on KKR’s bid.
Vivendi has made it clear it does not want to sell its 24 per cent stake in Telecom Italia, insisting it remains a long-term investor in the company and also considers KKR’s bid of €10.7 billion as too low.
The company’s board and other investors are now set to evaluate the offer, added Reuters.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back