Egyptian entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris is close to selling a 10% stake in Italian multi-service operator (MSO) Wind to three private equity groups for about EUR1 billion (USD1.55 billion), reports the London Financial Times. Mr Sawiris controls Wind, through holding company Weather Investments. The deal would see UK-based Apax Partners taking a 5% share in Weather, while US equity houses TA Associates and Madison Dearborn would buy a further 5% between them. Sources close to the deal say it could be concluded as early as the end of this week, but was more likely to be signed next week.
Wind was purchased by Sawiris in 2005 from utilities group Enel for EUR12 billion, and has until June to come up with the final instalment of EUR1 billion. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Wind had a 17% share of Italy’s mobile market at the end of March 2008, with just shy of 16 million subscribers. It also had 2.4 million fixed line customers (end-07) and over a million wholesale and retail broadband lines.