Discussions to create a single nationwide fibre-optic network operator in Italy have stalled, according to reports. Reuters cites unnamed sources as saying that negotiations between Telecom Italia (TIM), wholesale fibre provider Open Fiber and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) – a shareholder in both TIM and Open Fiber – have reached ‘deadlock’. The parties have been discussing a tie-up since last June, but talks have supposedly been hampered by regulatory, business and funding issues.
In an effort to help push a deal through, in December TIM invited outside investors to express an interest in coming on board, and Reuters says that non-binding bids were tabled by funds including Ardian, Macquarie, Wren House Infrastructure, Allianz, Goldman Sachs, KKR and Brookfield. Uncertainty over the future make-up of a merged TIM/Open Fiber has caused negotiations to come to a standstill. It is thought that TIM is looking to retain control of the merged fibre provider, but regulations favour a wholesale-only model outside of TIM’s control.