The Italian utility firm Enel is reported to have made an informal offer to acquire a majority stake in Metroweb Holding, the holding company that has an 87.7% interest in Milan-based fibre network operator Metroweb. According to Reuters, which cites ‘a source familiar with the matter’, Enel is looking to purchase the 53.8% stake in Metroweb Holding which is currently held by infrastructure fund F2i for around EUR400 million (USD454 million). The remainder of Metroweb Holding is owned by the government investment group Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), which also owns a minority stake in F2i, whilst other direct investors in Metroweb include ISP Fastweb.
Metroweb is being seen as an ideal vehicle for Italian firms to push ahead with the rollout of nationwide fibre broadband networks as part of a government-backed project to meet EU Digital Agenda targets by 2020. Enel has already set up its Enel Open Fibre unit to channel planned investment of EUR2.5 billion in deploying an open access fibre network which will be leased to retail telcos such as Wind and Vodafone Italy. Under the informal proposal, Enel Open Fiber and CDP would jointly manage Metroweb, the source said. Telecom Italia has also been linked as a potential buyer for Metroweb.