The Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has said the government could raise its stake in Telecom Italia (TIM) as it looks to encourage a tie-up with wholesale network operator Open Fiber. The government has an interest in both firms via state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). Open Fiber is a joint venture between CDP and utility group Enel, but investment fund Macquarie has put forward an offer for Enel’s stake.
Italian MP Beppe Grillo recently called on CDP to increase its interest in TIM to around 25%, which would be roughly the same as TIM’s current largest shareholder, Vivendi of France. CDP could then be used as a ‘pivot’ to unite TIM and Open Fiber and create a single nationwide broadband infrastructure company, which would lease capacity to service providers on an equal basis. Responding to a query about Grillo’s suggestion, the Prime Minister is cited by Reuters as saying that the ‘idea is good … it is one of the options we may consider’.