Telecom Italia has submitted an expression of interest for a controlling stake in Milan-based broadband provider Metroweb, according to unnamed sources cited by Italian business dailies Il Sole 24 Ore and Milano Finanza. The offer was sent to Italian infrastructure fund F2i, which has a 54 percent stake in Metroweb’s holding company Metroweb Italia. One of the sources indicated that Telecom Italia had not revealed how much it would be prepared to pay for the stake but that Vodafone had also expressed interest and may take part in a bidding war.
Telecom Italia has yet to comment on the reports but Franco Bassanini, chairman of state-backed holding company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), said any auction wouldn’t be a one-horse race. “Make no mistake: there will definitely be a competition… bids will have to be submitted,” he said, according to business website Key4Biz. CDP has a 46.2 percent stake in Metroweb Italia via the FSI fund, while broadband operator Fastweb owns 10.6 percent of Fastweb.
Last month Telecom Italia confirmed that CEO Marco Patuano had been given a mandate to make an offer for Metroweb, which could become its fibre optic investment company.