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Italian Government Might Not Block Naguib Sawiris Buying Stake in Telecom Italia

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The Italian government has slightly reversed from its previous stance and has now indicated that it might welcome an investment in ailing Telecom Italia from Egypt's Naguib Sawiris.

There has been recent speculation that Naguib Sawiris could buy a sizeable stake in the Italian firm, although he has said that such a deal would be dependent on Telecom Italia's minority controlling shareholder, Telefonica selling its stake.

Economic Development Deputy Minister Antonio Catricala told Bloomberg News that the government would not be opposed to Sawiris becoming Telecom Italia's largest shareholder

Sawiris previously offered to pump around USD2.7 billion into the company, but was rebuffed by the former management. The company's new CEO is thought to be favourable to such a deal.

Such a move would require the government to relax the rules that enable a small holding company, Telco to control the company. Telco was formed as a consequence of Telecom Italia's privatisation.

Telecom Italia is itself review the options that could see the shareholder structure shaken up, and reduce Telefonica's indirect control to that of just a large minority shareholder.

On the web: Bloomberg News

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Tags: naguib sawiris  telecom italia  Italy