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Italy's CDP weighs Open Fiber stake sale to Telecom Italia

Italian state lender Cassa depositi e prestiti SpA is considering a sale of its stake in wholesale broadband operator Enel Open Fiber SpA to Telecom Italia SpA, Reuters reported May 25, citing Il Messaggero.

The potential deal could reportedly lead to creating a single fiber broadband operator by combining the networks of Telecom Italia and Open Fiber, the latter jointly owned by CDP and utility provider Enel SpA. Telecom Italia would then keep control of the network company.

In exchange for the Open Fiber, CDP would be paid shares in Telecom Italia. This could further hike the state lender's stake in the telco to as much as 25%, potentially triggering a revamp since Vivendi SA and Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd.'s respective holdings of 23.9% and 9.4% would be diluted.

CDP recently increased its stake in Telecom Italia to 9.9%. It reportedly served as a mediator to resolve the spat between French media group Vivendi and activist hedge fund Elliott, which fought over control of the telecom operator's board.

Telecom Italia CEO Luigi Gubitosi has expressed interest in a merger with Open Fiber, with Telecom Italia taking control of the fixed-line network.