RAI given permission to cut towers business stake by Italian government

The Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has approved a decree that will allow state broadcaster RAI to reduce its holding in the Rai Way towers unit below 51%.

The move will open Italy up to significant consolidation in the tower sector, and could lead to merger talks between Rai Way and El Towers, Reuters reports.

Such a merger would create a business worth more than €2 billion, with El Towers previously launching a takeover bid for Rai Way in 2015. That bid however was struck down by the government of Matteo Renzi, citing a 2014 provision that ensured at least 51% of Rai Way must remain in public ownership.

The change in government – along with El Towers previous ownership by Silvio Berlusconi – has seen a public softening towards divesting Rai Way. The Berlusconi family still owns a 40% stake in El Towers via MediaForEurope (MFE), but it is 60% controlled by Italy’s largest independent infrastructure fund manager F2i.

Rai Way meanwhile is 65% owned by RAI, which has a market cap of approximately €1.3 billion.

It is believed that the Italian government thinks that governance agreements between RAI and the shareholders of a prospective merger partner would ensure Italian interests in the sector.

Most Recent