Telecom Italia has agreed to sell its 22.7 per cent stake in Telecom Argentina to Fintech Group, an investment firm, for $960 million.
Fintech gets hold of shares owned directly by Telecom Italia, as well as buying into units of the Italian operator that hold equity in the Argentinian incumbent.
The companies involved are Telecom Italia International, Sofora Telecomunicaciones, Nortel Inversora and Tierra Argentea.
The sale of direct and indirect shares will raise $860 million for Telecom Italia.
The outstanding $100 million will be paid once various agreements have been met. This includes Telecom Italia continuing to provide its Telecom Argentina companies with technical support and other services for up to three years.
The Italian telecoms group is embarking on a new plan to raise as much as €4 billion, to avoid a credit downgrade and revive its business, but the operator expects the Telecom Argentina sale will not have a material impact on net debt.
News of the sale follows revelations that Consob, Italy’s regulator – along with Guardia di Finanza (Italian Finance Police) – were at Telecom Italia’s offices on Wednesday to gather details of its recent convertible bond issue and the sale of its stake in Telecom Argentina
Reuters reports Telecom Italia’s new business plan has been criticised by some minority investors who have accused the board of only looking after the interests of main shareholders.
Telecom Italia, in a statement, said the investigation related to “company procedures regarding the confidential nature of privileged information and the keeping of the register of the individuals having access to such information”.
Telecom Italia added it has always operated in compliance with the laws and regulations that regulate the financial market and guarantees “maximum collaboration” with authorities.