US businessman Sol Trujillo, former CEO of Australian operator Telstra, is seeking to raise around EUR 7.5 billion to bid for a stake in Telecom Italia, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg. Sovereign wealth funds in Qatar and Abu Dhabi are said to have expressed interest in funding Trujillo’s plan, dubbed “Adriano”. If the project is successful, Trujillo would become Telecom Italia’s CEO and set up a new management team, according to Bloomberg, which says EUR 7.5 billion is equivalent to around half of Telecom Italia’s market value. The sources added that Trujillo has yet to approach Telecom Italia because the plan isn’t fully funded and he wants to drum up support from the Italian government, which retains a so-called golden share to veto deals involving industries it considers to be of national interest. However, senior Italian officials are said to be aware of the project and the government is apparently open to the idea of a foreign investor in Telecom Italia.
The board of the Italian operator is scheduled to meet on 26 September to discuss matters including the proposed sale of its stake in Telecom Argentina, which may not finally complete due to the ongoing Argentine financial crisis and delays in securing regulatory approval from local authorities.