Italian utility firm Enel has finalised a deal to acquire fibre network operator Metroweb as it looks to give itself a head-start with its plans to roll out fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks across Italy. Enel will merge Metroweb into its newly created Enel Open Fiber (EOF) unit, which will be co-owned by Enel and state investment group and Metroweb shareholder Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). Another Metroweb shareholder – investment firm F2i – has an option to take a 30% stake in the enlarged EOF. Other investors could also come on board, Enel says, though this will likely not happen until late 2016 or sometime in 2017. The deal valued Metroweb at EUR814 million (USD923 million).
Enel initially planned to invest EUR2.5 billion on its fibre deployment over a five-year period, but it has now raised this to EUR3.7 billion to allow it to cover 9.5 million households by 2021. The completed FTTH networks will be opened up to third-party service providers, with both Vodafone Italy and Wind Telecomunicazioni having held talks over a possible wholesale deal. Wireless broadband provider GO Internet has already signed on as a retail partner. Earlier this week Telecom Italia and Fastweb announced their own tie-up to roll out a joint FTTH network in 29 Italian cities. Telecom Italia had been hopeful of acquiring Metroweb itself, but Metroweb’s shareholders went with Enel’s offer instead.