Telecom Italia Approves €22 Billion Grid Sale, Defying Top Investor Vivendi SE

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Telecom Italia SpA has decided to go ahead with the sale of its landline network to KKR & Co. for an estimated €22 billion ($24 billion), despite strong opposition from its largest shareholder, Vivendi SE. The Italian phone carrier's board, backed by the Italian government, approved the strategic shakeup, which aims to focus on the mobile business and reduce debt.

Telecom Italia Approves Grid Sale, Defying Its Top Investor

Telecom Italia SpA has defied its largest shareholder, French media conglomerate Vivendi SE, by approving the sale of its landline network to KKR & Co. for up to €22 billion ($24 billion). This move by the Italian phone carrier marks a significant step forward in its long-awaited strategic shakeup, which it has been considering for over 15 years.

Over the weekend, Telecom Italia's board gave its approval for the sale, which also enjoys the backing of the Italian government. It was also announced that the agreement with renowned US private equity firm, KKR & Co., will not be subject to a shareholder vote. This sets the stage for a direct clash with Vivendi SE, which holds the largest stake in the company.

This decision by Telecom Italia to move ahead with the sale contradicts the wishes and interests of Vivendi SE. The French media conglomerate has been a staunch opponent of the company's efforts to divest its landline network. Vivendi has expressed concerns that selling the network would lead to reduced control over Telecom Italia's operations.

The sale of Telecom Italia's landline network is part of a broader plan to restructure the company and focus on its more lucrative mobile business. After years of deliberation, the board of Telecom Italia has finally deemed this move necessary to adapt to the evolving telecommunications industry and achieve greater financial stability.

By selling its landline network, Telecom Italia aims to free up capital and reduce its debt. The influx of funds from the sale will allow the company to invest in its mobile network infrastructure, upgrade its existing services, and explore new growth opportunities. This strategic shift aligns with the overall trend in the telecommunications sector, where mobile services are becoming increasingly dominant and profitable.

The agreement with KKR & Co. is expected to be mutually beneficial for both parties involved. For KKR & Co., this acquisition presents an opportunity to enter the Italian telecom market and gain a strong foothold. The private equity firm will now have access to Telecom Italia's extensive infrastructure, enabling them to provide competitive services to Italian customers. On the other hand, Telecom Italia will benefit from KKR & Co.'s financial expertise and potential future investments.

The Italian government's support of the deal further highlights its importance. The government sees the sale of Telecom Italia's landline network as a positive development for the country's telecommunications sector. It believes that this transaction will stimulate competition, improve the overall quality of services, and ultimately benefit consumers.

However, Vivendi SE remains steadfast in its opposition to the sale. The French media conglomerate believes that the disposal of the landline network is a short-sighted decision driven by short-term financial gains. Vivendi fears that Telecom Italia may lose control over essential infrastructure and technological advancements, putting the company at a disadvantage in the long run.

This clash between Telecom Italia and its largest investor sets the stage for a potential power struggle within the company. Vivendi SE holds a substantial stake in Telecom Italia and has previously displayed its influence by appointing its own executives to key positions. It remains to be seen how this disagreement will play out and if Vivendi SE will take further action to protect its interests.

Despite the resistance from its top shareholder, Telecom Italia's board's approval of the grid sale sends a strong signal that the company is committed to its strategic transformation. By divesting its landline network and focusing on its mobile business, Telecom Italia aims to position itself for success in the evolving telecommunications landscape. The sale to KKR & Co. represents a bold move that could pave the way for a new era for the Italian telecom giant.

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