Representatives of Telecom Italia, Metroweb and investment fund F2i have met with the Italian telecoms regulator Agcom to discuss the possibility of a tie-up between Telecom Italia and Metroweb. The two telcos have been in negotiations for some time, though the talks have so far failed to lead to a firm agreement. According to a report from local news portal Cor.Com, Telecom Italia is hoping to take a majority stake of 67% in Metroweb, with an option to increase this to 100%, with Metroweb to be used as a vehicle for the deployment of fibre networks in 250 cities which can then be leased to retail service providers, including Telecom Italia itself plus alternative operators such as Vodafone and Wind.
Metroweb is 87.7% owned by Metroweb Holding, which is in turn owned by infrastructure investment fund F2i (53.8%) and state-backed holding company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) through its investment fund Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI, 46.2%). Vodafone and Wind are also in separate negotiations over a possible partnership with Metroweb, with the Milan-based operator being seen as a vehicle to push ahead with the government’s plan to pump EUR12 billion (USD13.6 billion) of public and private funds into the development of fibre networks across the country to meet EU digital agenda targets.