BT struggles to offload Italian unit - Mobile World Live

BT struggles to offload Italian unit

06 FEB 2019

Indicative bids for BT Group’s Italian unit, which it is looking to sell after it was hit by an accounting scandal two years ago, fell short of the operator’s expectations, Reuters reported.

Four bidders comprising operators Telecom Italia and Wind Tre along with telecom services provider Retelit, and voice and data provider VueTel, are conducting due diligence as part of a second round in an auction process. Following this, the companies are expected to decide whether to bid for specific assets rather than the entire business.

A source told Reuters there is disagreement over the asking price, and none of the companies examining a bid would “go crazy” to secure the whole company.

Binding bids are due at the end of March. All parties declined to comment except VueTel, which confirmed its interest.

Credit Suisse, which is handling the sale, has been reportedly trying to get telecoms companies operating in Italy to the negotiating table since September 2018.

BT revealed in January 2017 an investigation had uncovered “improper accounting practices and a complex set of improper sales, purchase, factoring and leasing transactions” at its Italian operation.

This forced the operator to take a £530 million write-down.

BT Italia employs around 800 people and serves about 80,000 corporate clients in the country.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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