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Telecom Italia Enters Exclusive Talks With KKR For Grid Sale

 |  June 23, 2023

Several attempts have been made to reorganize TIM, the former national telephone monopoly of Italy.

According to Reuters, the US fund has invested 1.8 billion euros in the grid and had a previous bid to acquire the entire company privately denied.

The company is currently in the process of acquiring a unit that includes TIM’s entire domestic fixed access network and Sparkle’s submarine cable business.

The Italian government must approve the sale of the grid, and may utilize the “golden powers” rule to establish conditions or prevent offers for significant assets such as TIM’s network.

KKR is considering partnering with Italy’s Treasury or other state-backed entities infrastructure fund F2i as a co-shareholder in the network company in order to gain approval from Rome. However, the US fund has concerns about teaming up with CDP due to antitrust issues, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Related: Italy’s Antitrust Watchdog OKs Telecom Italia Fiber Deal

The ownership of Open Fiber, a smaller competitor of TIM, is shared by the state lender and Macquarie.

According to a government official who spoke to Reuters on Thursday, securing a stake in the network is a priority for Rome to ensure government oversight of the asset.

The network sale is a crucial element in Chief Executive Pietro Labriola’s strategy to reinvigorate TIM by decreasing the company’s 25 billion euro debt.

Labriola’s plans to sell Telecom Italia’s landline grid have faced opposition from Vivendi, the company’s top investor. Vivendi seeks a minimum of 31 billion euros for the grid in any potential sale as it is the company’s main asset.