Big banks confirm TI interest

Two of Italy’s largest banks, Intesa Sanpaolo and merchant bank Mediobanca, on Tuesday confirmed reports they were in talks with other investors regarding the acquisition of a stake in Olimpia, Telecom Italia’s largest shareholder.

The appearance of the banks is seen as a move to counter interest by US operator AT&T and Mexican partner, America Movil.

Last week, Italian ministers made it clear that foreign investors would be challenged in order to keep TI under Italian ownership. AT&T responded by saying that it is open to Italian partners in its proposed purchase of Telecom Italia.

The banks have said that they have “contacts under way with more than one party that are interested for various reasons in the possible transaction.”

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