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Naguib Sawiris Could Pump Up to $2 Billion into Telecom Italia

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Egyptian telecoms billionaire, Naguib Sawiris is said to be ready to pump US$1 2 billion into debt laden Telecom Italia, but only if Telefonica gives up its indirect control of the company.

This marks Sawiris' second attempt to buy a major stake in the Italian firm, and would be his second investment in the country, following his early investment in Wind Italia.

"In the past I made my calculations and put forward a proposal. I think I would reiterate that: I would be ready to invest $1bn to $2bn," Sawiris told Il Sole 24 Ore when asked how much would he spend on Telecom Italia if Telefonica withdrew from it.

"I am waiting until Telefonica makes a decision. I will be patient for a few moths more," Sawiris said.

Telecom Italia is coming under pressure to sell its majority stake in a Brazilian network subsidiary, in part to pay down debt, but more controversially so that Telefonica can retain its own mobile network in Brazil without triggering an anti-trust investigation.

Telecom Italia is expected to name a new board of directors this week at its annual meeting, and is also reviewing plans to reform the shareholder structure to reduce the outsized influence that a small group have through their Telco holding company over the board nominees.

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