Vivendi ‘open’ to TIM network carve out

Vivendi has indicated that it may be open to the Italian state taking control of Telecom Italia’s (TIM) network infrastructure, a likely preliminary to the acquisition of TIM by US-based private equity outfit KKR.

A Vivendi spokesperson told La Repubblica newspaper that the French company was interested in any outcome that promoted the efficiency of the TIM network  and preserved the value of its investment in the Italian telco.

Vivendi is TIM’s largest shareholder with a 23.8% stake.

The comments follow a reported meeting between Vivendi management and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), the state-backed investment outfit that holds a 9.8% stake in TIM and is the majority owner of Open Fiber, the telco’s main competitor in the infrastructure space.

Vivendi’s spokesperson said that the French company would not stand in the way of the creation of a single fibre network through the merger of Open Fiber with TIM’s infrastructure arm.

Such a move could clear the way for KKR to take over TIM proper.

KKR last month made a “friendly” €10.8 billion offer for TIM that would see the telco carve out its infrastructure unit into a state-regulated asset with Open Fiber.

Recently ousted TIM CEO Luigi Gubitosi negotiated for KKR to take a 37.5% stake in the infrastructure unit, FiberCop, for €1.8 billion last year.

Vivendi, which had pushed for Gubitosi’s exit amid a string of poor financial results and mounting debt, reportedly viewed the KKR bid for TIM as too low.

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