Italy’s state-backed lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) has revealed that it would be prepared to increase its stake in fibre broadband network operator Metroweb should no other buyer come forward for shares being offloaded by investment fund F2i. CDP Chairman Franco Bassanini has been quoted by Reuters as saying: ‘If there are no investors willing to buy F2i’s stake in Metroweb, it’s not a mystery for anyone that CDP will step in to buy it.’
CDP currently owns 46.2% of holding company Metroweb Italia, which in turn controls 87.7% of Metroweb; F2i owns the remaining 53.8% of Metroweb Italia and is looking to sell off its entire interest, with Telecom Italia (TI) and Vodafone both linked as potential buyers. Metroweb is being seen as a key element of the government’s plan to reach every home in Italy with a minimum 30Mbps broadband service by 2020. While TI wants to acquire the whole of F2i’s stake, Vodafone is advocating using Metroweb as a vehicle for the country’s telcos to collaborate to build a shared national fibre infrastructure.