Unions and small shareholders in Telecom Italia have been voicing their anger at the group’s ailing fortunes. It follows a share value collapse and a suspected privacy-abuse scandal. Now there’s talk of selling a controlling stake. Beppe Grillo, Italian comedian and shareholder in Telecom Italia, led calls for the company’s management to quit: “The shareholders report reads like a neuro psychiatrists report, it’s incredible. They’ve all sold the company down the river.” said Grillo.
Shareholders are not the only ones anxious. Italy’s centre-left government sees Europe’s fifth biggest telecoms operator as a major part of the country’s infrastructure. Italian conglomerate Pirelli is in talks over selling a stake in Olimpia, a holding company through which it controls Telecom Italia, to two North American companies, AT&T and America Movil.
One Italian union member said Telecom Italia should not be sold on the cheap and that it was important control of the network should stay in Italy. Shareholders were meeting to vote on a new board with the sale looming. Italian bank Intesa SanPaolo has said it may consider taking an equity interest in the troubled telecoms group.
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