ROME: Italian operator Telecom Italia (TIM) called an extraordinary board meeting on Sunday after receiving an expression of interest from US private equity fund KKR for the entire company, said a source close to the file.
KKR already owns a 37.5% stake in FiberCop, a joint venture with TIM and Italian internet provider Fastweb to provide fiber optic broadband throughout Italy.
The announcement of the offer comes as TIM’s management comes under increasing pressure from shareholders – the largest of which is France’s Vivendi – following recent disappointing results, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, which reported first revealed the story of KKR.
A spokesperson for Vivendi in Paris denied being in talks with funds including CVC, which was also named in speculation about TIM’s future.
“Vivendi has been a long-term investor in Telecom Italia from the start. Vivendi firmly denies having had any discussions with funds, and more particularly with CVC, ”he declared.
Vivendi calls for bigger role in Telecom Italia to challenge CEO
“Vivendi reiterates its willingness and willingness to work alongside the Italian authorities and public institutions for the long-term success of TIM.
The Financial Times said if the deal with KKR goes through it would be one of the biggest telecom buyouts of all time.
The Italian government has the power to intervene in any potential buyout deal, as TIM’s network is seen as a strategic national asset, Italian media said.