The Italian government is reportedly considering designating Telecom Italia’s (TI’s) fixed networks as ‘strategic assets’ after Spain’s Telefonica agreed to boost its stake in Telco, the holding company that controls 22.39% of TI. The development was revealed by Bloomberg, which cites the draft of a decree that could be discussed at a Cabinet meeting later today. If the network is designated as strategic. the Italian government will have a say in any eventual change in ownership involving a foreign buyer. If approved, the new rules will also apply to electricity and gas grids, as well as the country’s railways, ports and airports.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Telefonica tightened its grip on TI earlier this week by agreeing to increase its share capital in Telco to 66%. Going forward, subject to receiving any required anti-trust and telecoms approvals – including in Brazil and Argentina where TI’s local units compete with Telefonica – the Spanish telco will pay out a second capital increase in Telco, and see its total share capital increase to around 70%.