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Report: Telecom Italia, Vodafone to launch tower business stake sale

Telecom Italia SpA and Vodafone Italia SpA will begin the process to sell a stake in their tower business, Reuters reported, citing two sources.

The Vodafone Group PLC unit tapped UBS Group AG, while Telecom Italia chose Banca IMI SpA, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as their advisers for the process, according to one of the sources.

The move comes after the Italian companies in July agreed to combine their existing tower assets into Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane SpA, or INWIT, and to expand their network-sharing partnership to include 5G services. Following its approval of the deal in November, Telecom Italia-controlled INWIT scheduled a shareholder meeting for Dec. 19 to sign off on the transaction.

Vodafone and TIM will each hold a 37.5% stake in INWIT after completion of the deal, with INWIT's minority shareholders owning 25%.

The transaction is awaiting approval from European Union antitrust regulators and is expected to close in the first few months of 2020.