Orascom Telecom founder Naguib Sawiris is reportedly seeking to buy as much as a EUR5 billion stake in Telecom Italia, according to unconfirmed media reports over the weekend.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that Telecom Italia’s management board discussed the offer from Sawiris last week. According to Bloomberg, Telecom Italia has a market value of about EUR13 billion after falling 17 percent this year, suggesting Sawiris could be bidding for close to 40 percent of the firm.

An Orascom spokesperson “declined to comment about rumours circulating in the media.”

Sawaris used to own Telecom Italia rival WIND Italy prior to selling most of his telecoms assets to VimpelCom last year. He has also been previously linked with a bid to buy Telefonica’s stake in Telco, the holding company that owns 22 percent of Telecom Italia.

On Friday, Telecom Italia reported a 13 percent decline in Q3 profit to EUR681 million and a 3 percent drop in sales to EUR7.27 billion. However, senior management has been predominantly focused on relieving the operator’s debt burden.

One such move includes a possible spin-off of its fixed-line network. Chairman Franco Bernabe told investors Friday that a decision on this will be taken at a board meeting in December.