A Canadian investment fund committed to invest CAD2.9 billion ($2 billion) for a minority stake in Telecom Italia’s (TIM) fixed network business NetCo, joining a KKR-led consortium which has agreed a deal to buy the entire unit from the operator.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP) stated it has entered into an agreement to join KKR’s Optics Bidco investor group, a move that will give it a 17.5 per cent interest in the fixed business.

The investor group, which includes involvement from a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Italian infrastructure fund F2i and the Italian government, struck a deal to acquire NetCo for €18.8 billion in late 2023.

CPP explained the “newly defined Netco business” will comprise fixed network assets separated from TIM, offering connectivity to homes and businesses across Italy on an open-access wholesale basis through a mix of copper and fibre.

The investor group has also committed to support upgrades to the existing network to deliver fibre-based services in urban and rural areas, while decommissioning legacy copper technologies.

However, the sale has been controversial, with TIM’s largest shareholder Vivendi slamming the decision and subsequently launching legal proceedings against the operator.

Despite this, CPP added it expects the transaction to conclude in mid-2024.

James Bryce, MD, global head of infrastructure at CCP investments, said it was optimistic NetCo can represent the first of several infrastructure investments in Italy for the company.