Weather edges ahead

11 Apr 2005

Enel has asked the Weather consortium to clarify part of its bidding proposal for Italian telco Wind, with a view to entering into exclusive talks with the group for the sale of a majority stake in the operator. Enel held a board meeting over the weekend and emerged with a clear preference for Weather’s bid, ahead of an offer made by a consortium led by US private equity firm Blackstone. The emergence of Weather as favourite to land the stake comes as some surprise following last week’s announcement that the venture, headed by Orascom Telecom CEO Naguib Sawiris, had lost the support of one of its major backers, private equity giant Apax Partners. Whilst Blackstone was thought to be the frontrunner in the auction, it appears that Enel favours Weather’s proposal because it is seeking a smaller 63% stake in the telco. Additionally, the Enel board is reportedly impressed with Weather’s strategy to help establish Wind as an international telecoms player.