A consortium comprising of Spain’s Cellnex and infrastructure fund F2i is the frontrunner to acquire a 45 per cent stake in Telecom Italia’s tower unit Inwit, although price could still be a stumbling factor.
Reuters reports the joint Cellnex-F2i bid of between €4.35-€4.45 per share is seen as the most favourable of three offers on the table, because it gives savings of approximately €1 billion.
However, Telecom Italia, which owns 60 per cent of Inwit, may consider the price too low, and could be reluctant to sell, according to the report. Inwit shares closed at €4.55 yesterday, according to the publication. The Italian operator already sold a 40 per cent stake in the tower firm for a reported €875 million in an IPO last year.
Along with Cellnex-F2i, American Tower and Ei Towers also submitted non-binding offers for the stake at the start of the year, with Telecom Italia expecting to close a deal in June.
Cellnex-F2i, if successful, would then be required to launch a mandatory takeover of the rest of the tower group, in accordance with Italian law. Buyers in Italy are required to bid for the whole company once a 30 per cent threshold is breached.
Ei Towers reportedly proposed to acquire less than 30 per cent, to avoid the issue, but the bid is seen as less attractive internally.
Telecom Italia chief executive Marco Patuano has said in the past he is open to all options regarding Inwit, but would like to keep a 15 per cent stake in the company.