Home » Italian gov’t greenlights TIM’s network sale to KKR

Italian gov’t greenlights TIM’s network sale to KKR

Rome cleared the operation with just a set of prescriptions, noting that the State will retain control of the strategic assets relating to national security. Here's what the future holds in store for Italy's main telecoms company

TIM gets government go-ahead on network sale. On Wednesday, the major Italian telecoms company – which owns the country’s largest fixed-line phone and data network via NetCo, and has been in talks to sell it to the US-based fund KKR – announced that the executive had approved the operation, which is worth roughly €20 billion.

  • Government officials only used the State’s “golden power” to issue a set of prescriptions, meaning the companies’ commitments have been deemed to “be fully adequate to guarantee the protection of the strategic interests connected with the assets involved in the transaction,” said TIM in a note.

The executive’s take. Before markets opened, the government issued a separate note, writing that the go-ahead was a “further and fundamental step in the operation” in line with its objectives to “protect the national interest and guarantee State control over the strategic assets of the primary telecommunications network.” The State will retain its power to define what’s strategic and supervision over “all aspects concerning the security, defence and strategic nature of the network.”

  • The prescriptions formalise TIM and KKR’s commitments, i.e. creating a security organisation, ensuring that the person in charge is an Italian citizen, having exclusive jurisdiction over all matters affecting strategic assets, maintaining all research, maintenance and monitoring activities in Italy, reads the note.

Sparkle’s in the mix, too. TIM’s global operator, a leading company deploying and operating undersea data cables, is also being weighted by KKR, which still hasn’t put forward an offer to acquire it – and must decide by the end of January. As Equita notes, the Italian telecoms operator had previously valued it at €600 million (plus €150 million in earn-out), and there’s a discrepancy of roughly €200 million.

What happens with TIM? “What we are doing beyond the separation of the network is to maintain the intelligence of the services in what is ServiceCo,” explained CEO Pietro Labriola. The company, born in 1994 from the merger of State-owned telecom companies, will now pivot to services through its cybersecurity division Telsy, its cloud computing subsidiary Noovle, and IoT-centred provider Olivetti.

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