TI says enforced networks sale would be illegal

20 Oct 2014

The chairman of Telecom Italia (TI) says the firm will resist any moves by the government to force it to spin off its networks business, saying such a move would be illegal. Last week a member of parliament revived the idea of a sell-off for the operator’s infrastructure, claiming it would help speed up the development of broadband internet networks in the country if the business was under state control. The idea has been tabled several times over the past few years, most recently in 2013 when TI held talks with state-backed investment company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) over a possible transfer of the networks business. However, Reuters quotes TI chairman Giuseppe Recchi as saying: ‘It’s something I have already heard about four or five times since I arrived in Telecom and there is no legal basis for (forcing) a spin off of the network of a private company.’ The operator is attempting to reduce its EUR27 billion (USD34.6 billion) debt pile by selling its Argentinean unit and other assets, but maintains that there are no plans to offload its infrastructure business, which has been valued at up to EUR15 billion.