Prosecutors studying TI deal

19 Sep 2006

The arguments surrounding Telecom Italia’s proposed restructuring have taken a new twist, with the firm now being investigated by prosecutors. The deal, and the subsequent involvement of prime minister Romano Prodi, has already led to two casualties, with TI chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera and Prodi advisor Angelo Rovati both resigning last week. Reports suggest that prosecutors are looking for evidence of criminal wrongdoing, although no charges have been brought. The firm revealed a plan on 11 September which would see it split its wireline and wireless businesses so that it could concentrate on providing media content over fixed broadband networks. Most analysts thought the split would result in a sale of cellular division TIM, with a number of foreign investors linked as potential buyers, and this prompted interest from Prodi’s government, which is thought to be keen to see the national telecoms infrastructure stay in Italian hands.

Meanwhile, the Italian TV group Mediaset has said it is studying Telecom Italia’s position with regard to its planned transformation into a media provider. Italy’s business daily Il Sole 24 Ore quotes Mediaset CEO Giuliano Adreani, who admits to monitoring the situation, while he says that no talks have taken place.