Struggle to form single Italian broadband provider drags on

News

The Italian government’s efforts to create a single national broadband provider, by merging the assets of OpenFiber and Telecom Italia, grind to another halt.

Telecom Italia’s CEO Luigi Gubitosi told Italian media that he could not agree the terms put forward by the Stefano Buffagni, Italy’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development earlier this week.

Gubitosi states his company must hold a stake of at least 50% in the merged entity, but was willing to negotiate on terms concerning regulation and governance.

The Deputy Minister insists a company that provides wholesale access to all parties cannot be controlled by a “vertically integrated shareholder”.

And so the long saga rumbles on, with another absolute deadline passed in this complex matrix of proposed deals.

In June, the government mulled upping its stake in Telecom Italia to 25% (from below 10%) in an effort to strengthen its hand, but the transaction has yet to take place.

In July it applied further pressure on Telecom Italia by delaying the €1.8 billion sale of a 37.5% stake of its fibre and copper access network to KKR.

Telecom Italia’s board is due to reconvene on 31 August and would make a final evaluation of KKR’s offer.