Core Italian shareholders in Telecom Italia (TI) have reportedly rejected a EUR800 million (USD1.07 billion) offer from Spain’s Telefonica to buy part of their stakes, Reuters reports, quoting an unsourced article by Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. Negotiations were described as ‘complicated and difficult’.
Telefonica is the largest shareholder (46.0%) in Telco, the holding company that controls 22.39% of TI, alongside Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca (both 11.6%) and insurer Generali (30.6%). The report by Il Sole 24 Ore suggests that Telefonica seeks to preserve the existence of Telco to avoid potential antitrust problems in Latin America, where Telefonica and TI are competitors. An outright merger between Telefonica and TI is said to be ‘out of the question’.