Sawiris reiterates interest in TI… but only if it hangs onto Brazilian unit

1 Oct 2014

Egyptian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris has admitted that he is still keen to invest in Telecom Italia (TI), as long as the company retains its stake in Brazilian mobile operator TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil). Sawiris, who had a EUR3 billion (USD3.8 billion) bid for TI rejected in 2012, told Reuters: ‘We have not lost interest. This company needs two things: one – a capital increase, and two – a desire to expand or improve … I made an offer one time. It was rejected. I don’t want to go through that again. I’ve learned in my life it’s better to know that you’re welcome before you waste your time.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last week Sol Trujillo – the former chief executive of Australia’s Telstra Corp – was linked with a EUR7.5 billion bid for a controlling stake in TI. It was later revealed by Reuters that Trujillo helped Sawiris carry out due diligence when the Egyptian tycoon bought Italian telecoms company Wind Telecomunicazioni, now controlled by Russia’s Vimpelcom. That said, despite the prior relationship, the two men are not believed to be working together on this occasion, with Trujillo’s backers said to be New York-based financial advisers and sovereign-wealth funds in Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

Brazil, Italy, Telecom Italia (TIM), TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil)