Italy to discuss KKR's move on TIM after binding bid, minister says

Italy to discuss KKR's move on TIM after binding bid, minister says
Italy to discuss KKR's move on TIM after binding bid, minister says   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p><span class="caps">ROME</span> – The Italian government will discuss <span class="caps">KKR</span>’s takeover approach on Telecom Italia (<span class="caps">TIM</span>) when the U.S. fund makes a binding proposal, Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Wednesday. </p> <p>The debt-laden former Italian phone monopoly has received a 10.8 billion euro ($12 billion) approach from <span class="caps">KKR</span> aimed at taking Italy’s biggest phone group private.</p> <p>Rome has special anti-takeover powers to shield companies deemed of strategic importance from foreign bids.</p> <p>“It is too early to talk about that,” Giorgetti said during a parliamentary hearing, adding the government would look carefully at <span class="caps">KKR</span>’s plans concerning the company infrastructure assets and jobs.</p> <p><span class="caps">KKR</span>’s move is conditional on the government’s backing and comes as a boardroom war rages at <span class="caps">TIM</span>, whose biggest shareholder, French media group Vivendi with a 24% stake, has said it deems the bid too low.</p> <p>Speculation that <span class="caps">KKR</span> could raise its bid to win Vivendi’s approval pushed <span class="caps">TIM</span> shares as much as 17% higher on Wednesday to a 21-month peak.</p> <p>More than 25% of Telecom Italia voting capital has changed hands this week.</p> <p>Vivendi is pushing for <span class="caps">TIM</span>’s Chief Executive Luigi Gubitosi to be replaced after two profit warnings since July, sources have said, and the matter could be discussed at a board meeting on Friday.</p> <p>Italy’s main telecom unions called for a greater presence of the state in <span class="caps">TIM</span>, blaming Vivendi for creating tensions within the company.</p> <p>State-owned holding company Cassa Depositi Prestiti is <span class="caps">TIM</span>’s second biggest shareholder with a 10% stake.</p> <p/> </div>