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The long, tangled saga of Italy's fibre infra continues

News

Macquarie Asset Management has finalised an agreement with Enel to acquire a 40% equity interest in Open Fiber for €2.12 billion.

The acquisition by the Australian Macquarie Asset Management was announced in January.

Open Fiber operates Italy’s largest FTTH network, with more than 12 million households passed in more than 180 urban centres and more than 2,300 rural municipalities across the country.

Open Fiber is also leading the roll out of ultrafast broadband throughout Italy, aiming to pass more than 19 million households with its wholesale-only network.

New partners

Macquarie Asset Management will partner the Italian sovereign fund CDP Equity which will own the remaining 60% stake in Open Fiber after the completion of the sale of Enel’s entire stake in the business. Enel is the country's state-owned energy provider.

Jiri Zrust, Senior Managing Director at Macquarie Asset Management, said, “Enhancing access to reliable, ultrafast broadband is key if households and businesses across Italy are to harness the significant opportunities presented by a more connected society and economy.

We look forward to supporting the delivery of Italy’s next-generation digital infrastructure through our investment in Open Fiber, partnering with its talented workforce and CDP Equity to deliver first class, open-access network infrastructure across Italy.”

Macquarie Asset Management is investing to support the roll out of high-capacity digital infrastructure networks around the world. In Europe, its managed funds are increasing ultrafast broadband connectivity across the UK, Denmark, and Poland through investments in KCOM, TDC Group, and INEA.

Macquarie Asset Management has been investing in Italy since 2002. During that time, Macquarie-managed funds have supported the development and long-term operation of infrastructure essential to the Italian economy through investments in Hydro Dolomiti Energia, Società Gasdotti Italia, Renvico, and Aeroporti di Roma. In June, Macquarie-managed funds agreed to acquire 88% of Autostrade per l’Italia in a consortium with CDP Equity and Blackstone Infrastructure Partners.

Completion of the transaction is expected in Q4 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and necessary approvals from the Presidency of Italy’s Council of Ministers and the European Commission Competition Authority.

In 2020, incumbent TIM made remarkable progress in building out fibre infrastructure and committed to closing the digital divide in Italy in 2021. It has delivered on its pledge in two regions so far – Apulia (perhaps better known as Puglia) and Fruili Venezia Guilia.