US hedge fund KKR has made a $12 billion offer to buy Italian telco TIM/Telecom Italia.
TIM said its board of directors met yesterday to discuss the non-binding indication of interest by KKR to take the telco private. The announcement gave no indication of whether the board would accept the deal.
Bloomberg reports that French media firm Vivendi, Telecom Italia’s largest shareholder, is currently unlikely to support KKR’s offer as it is viewed as undervaluing the company.
TIM said KKR had set an indicative price of 0.505 euros for its possible buyout offer - a 45 percent premium to the ordinary shares' closing price on Friday. Shares rose more than 25 percent on the news.
Italy's Treasury told Reuters foreign interest in Italian companies was "positive news for the country,” but any plans for TIM has to be in line with the goal of rapidly completing broadband rollout across Italy, supported by adequate investments, and protecting jobs.
KKR currently owns a stake in TIM’s FiberCop business. Reuters said KKR's plan would see TIM carve out its fixed network to be run as a government-regulated asset along the model used by energy grid company Terna or gas grid firm Snam.
TIM has almost €30 billion ($33.7bn) worth of debt and has issued a number of profit warnings this year.
Earlier this month TIM said that it was considering potentially selling off a stake in its Noovle Cloud and data center unit amid financial struggles.