Italy’s state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) has confirmed that it is looking to take a stake of up to 5% in Telecom Italia (TIM) to protect national interests in the telco. In a statement, CDP said: ‘Such an investment falls under CDP’s mission of supporting national strategic infrastructures and aims to help … the company’s development path … in a crucial sector.’ Reuters said a 5% stake in TIM would be valued at around EUR600 million (USD741 million).
The move comes amidst a power struggle at TIM, with activist investor Elliott Advisors looking to reduce the influence of 23.9% stakeholder Vivendi of France. Shareholders will elect a new board next month, with Elliott and Vivendi putting forward separate lists of nominees.
CDP already has an interest in Italy’s telecoms market, as a shareholder in wholesale network provider Open Fiber, which is deploying fibre-optic infrastructure in Italian cities in competition with TIM. TIM, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with a plan to spin off its own fixed network assets into a separate, wholly-controlled unit, NetCo. Elliott is known to favour a single national infrastructure provider, via the future merger of Open Fiber and NetCo.