Telecom Italia (TIM) has confirmed that it has received a request from Optics Bidco, a subsidiary of KKR, to postpone the deadline for its offer to buy the telco's submarine cable unit Sparkle until the end of January.

Telecom Italia
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The Italian telco, which agreed to sell its landline business to investment firm KKR for €22 billion ($23.6bn) last month, will discuss the request during a board meeting next week (December 14).

KKR submitted a €600 million ($649m) non-binding offer for Sparkle on November 5, but the bid was rejected.

The company is expected to improve its offer, with Reuters reporting last week that TIM and KKR advisers have discussed a valuation of around €750-800m.

It's thought that TIM values its submarine unit at around €1 billion ($1.07bn).

Sparkle's submarine cable networks extend more than 600,000km.

TIM's decision to sell its landline grid drew criticism from Vivendi, which has long opposed plans to sell TIM's most valuable asset.

The deal was approved by TIM without making it conditional on a vote by shareholders.

Instead, the board voted 11-3 in favor of the deal.

KKR valued the assets at €18.8bn ($20.2bn), but the overall value of the deal is as much as €22bn ($23.6bn) based on what can be earned if the landline grid is merged with that of small rival Open Fiber SpA.

The deal is expected to close by the summer of 2024, and will allow the company to reduce its debt by €14bn ($15bn).