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More investors line up for a piece of TIM

TIM

TIM has received an approach from CVC Capital partners, which is looking to buy into its enterprise services business.

At the request of stock market regulator Consob, TIM on Monday confirmed it has received a non-binding proposal from CVC regarding a minority stake in an as-yet non-existent business unit that would house its enterprise assets. Specifically, the newco would include TIM’s current Enterprise division activities – connectivity, ICT services and so forth – plus those of Noovle, Olivetti, Telsy and Trust Technologies.

Newco will be set up in the event that the telco reaches a deal with CVC, TIM said. It did not disclose any further details of the offer, including the price, but said it will be submitted to the board for consideration.

Speculating ahead of the announcement, Reuters reported that CVC was looking at an investment in TIM’s services arm on the back of the spin-off plan presented by chief executive Pietro Labriola earlier this month. Under that plan, TIM will separate into two distinct legal entities, one housing its fixed infrastructure assets and the other a services business. The telco’s latest announcement suggests that that services business – currently dubbed ServCo – could be further split, depending on the outcome of negotiations with CVC.

However, CVC is not the only investor with an eye on TIM. Reuters’ sources claim that “at least three big funds” are weighing up the possibility of an investment in TIM’s services arm. The newswire named Apollo Global Management as one of the others, but naturally could not confirm that.

Meanwhile, talks with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) are ongoing.

The private equity firm lodged a €0.505 per share takeover bid back in November, valuing the telco at €10.79 billion. TIM took its sweet time deciding how to tackle that offer, but a fortnight ago, a couple of weeks after the publication of its plan to split into two, the telco gave Labriola and chairman Salvatore Rossi the go-ahead to open discussions with KKR.

TIM’s strategic plan and the possibility of a KKR takeover are not mutually exclusive; indeed, Labriola recently noted that his plan and KKR’s intentions for the company are broadly similar, the difference being which entities benefit from the value unlocked. But the fact that there are now a number of would-be investors circling certainly complicates things further…and the situation was already fairly complicated, with a divided boardroom and the various interests of the Italian government – including the endless back-and-forth on a single network plan – to take into consideration.

TIM is not giving much away at this stage, noting simply that it is still holding discussions with KKR “in order to obtain information regarding the attractiveness, actuality and deliverability of the non-binding and indicative expression of interest sent on 17 November 2021.”

Clearly nothing is off the table at TIM. If anything, the table is starting to groan under the weight of the options the company has before it.

 

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