by Elena Comelli
Tim could be able to sell the network on the wire. Given today’s deadline, US fund Kkr and the competing alliance formed by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti with Australian fund Macquarie are poised to present improved offerings to the network. The rumor comes from sources close to the file re-released by Reuters, that both Kkr and Cdp will be relaunched to a limited extent. CDP will also make some proposals to respond to the critical issues raised by Tim on the antitrust case. The sources indicated that Tim’s board of directors will meet on June 19 to conduct a preliminary review of the offers, and secondly on June 22 to take a decision, including the possibility of granting an exclusive period.
Last month, Kkr and the CDP-led consortium paid 21 billion euros respectively (of which 2 billion in profits) and 19.3 billion euros to Tim Network and the company that operates submarine cables Sparkle. Both bids were deemed insufficient by Tim’s board of directors, which today set the deadline for any new bids to be submitted. The proposal by Cdp and Macquarie assumes the integration of the Tim network with the Open Fiber network, a process promoted by the governments led by Giuseppe Conte and Mario Draghi to bring the Tim network under public control, which then stalled due to a number of regulatory issues.
The sale of Telecom Italia’s fixed network and submarine cable unit Sparkle is central to CEO Pietro Labriola’s plan to radically reduce the former phone monopolist’s €26 billion debt, improving its fortunes. This strategy, however, is not to the liking of Tim’s main shareholder, Vivendi, who is asking for a valuation of €31 billion to support the sale. His opposition has also materialized in a stinging criticism of Tim’s governance and in a bid to fill the seat on the board, which CEO Arnaud de Boifontaine left empty in January, along with Leonardo’s former boss, Luciano Carta.
Kkr’s approach is seen as the strongest alternative by Labriola. KKR, which already owns a minority stake in Tim’s network, has left the door open for the government to take a minority stake in the infrastructure either directly or through state-backed entities, but the government wants to secure strategic oversight of the mainnet. Telecommunications infrastructure in Italy. Rome could in any case use the “Golden Power” regulation to create conditions or prevent attempts to acquire strategic assets such as the TEM network.
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