US global investment firm KKR has made a binding offer to buy Telecom Italia's (TIM’s) main fixed network.
KKR’s offer will stand until 8 November, with the possibility of an extension until 20 December, TIM said in a statement on Monday.
The price of the bid has not been disclosed, but Telecom Italia, along with its subsea cable unit group Sparkle, is valued at around €23 billion.
KKR has also made a non-binding offer for the Sparkle business.
TIM is a former phone monopoly in Italy, and its landline network still covers nearly 89% of the country's households.
Whilst being a smaller division of the company, Sparkle is also a significant player in the submarine cable industry, with a network that extends over 600,000km.
The potential purchase could be a watershed moment for TIM, as the group is looking to reduce its net debt of €26 billion.
TIM’s future nonetheless depends on a number of actors.
The company’s largest shareholder, French media conglomerate Vivendi SE, has shown hostility towards KKR’s bid, saying that it won’t accept a network offer below €30 billion.
That said, when it appeared that Vivendi might block a sale between TIM and KKR earlier this year, sources cited by the Financial Times said the French group might back down to avoid angering Meloni’s government.
As part of the KKR deal, the Italian state could take an up to 20% share in TIM, and it also retains a veto power over any foreign takeover of key assets.
Shares in TIM fell dramatically this morning as more news of KKR's bid emerged, but have since begun to rise again.