US private equity company KKR reportedly approached Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to help fund a proposed acquisition of Telecom Italia.
Bloomberg reported KKR is trying to gauge the interest of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in providing capital for the bid.
The news outlet stated KKR had spoken to other sovereign wealth funds and infrastructure investors, without providing further details.
KKR launched a €10.7 billion bid to buy out Telecom Italia’s shares and take it private in November 2021. The move was the latest twist in the operator’s turbulent recent history following a period of poor performance under the current ownership.
Telecom Italia CEO Luigi Gubitosi resigned less than a week later, with the boss of subsidiary TIM Brasil Pietro Labriola handed control of the group on a temporary basis.
Reuters reported chairman Salvatore Rossi scheduled a board meeting for 21 January to appoint a new CEO, with Labriola seen as favourite.
The situation at the Italian operator remains fraught meanwhile.
In December 2021, it was forced to cut its earnings forecast for the third time in a year, for example. Other members of its top team, including chief technology and operations officer Nicola Grassi and chief strategy, business development and transformation operator Carlo Nardello, have also departed.
Furthermore, the Communications Workers Union threatened to call a strike for the operator’s entire domestic workforce because of concerns over the future of the company.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back