Unions in Italy have raised fears that up to 20,000 jobs could be under threat when the fixed network assets of incumbent operator Telecom Italia (TIM) are spun off into a separate unit. A report in Il Messaggero said that 30,000 TIM staff would be transferred to the new company – dubbed NetCo – with the fate of the remainder left in the balance.
The Italian government is keen to see the creation of a single broadband network, combining the assets of TIM and state-backed wholesale operator Open Fiber, and is pushing through legislation which would allow regulated returns on investments made. The unit would be valued at up to EUR15 billion (USD17 billion), the report suggests.
While TIM’s largest shareholder, 24% owner Vivendi, is keen for the network assets to remain under TIM’s control following the separation, activist investor Elliott Advisors is thought to favour a full spin-off. Last week TIM’s board axed its Vivendi-nominated CEO Amos Genish, replacing him with Luigi Gubitosi, who has the backing of Elliott.
Meanwhile, earlier this week Open Fiber’s 50% shareholder, national utility firm Enel, said it had no plans to sell its stake in the venture, with CEO Francesco Starace quoted by Reuters as saying: ‘It’s doing a great job, we’re very happy with it … we will never exit Open Fiber.’