Spanish Telefónica Chairman César Alierta launched talks on Monday to become the controlling shareholder of Telecom Italy, Down Jones reports. The operation details will be set before the end of the month, according to sources close to the negotiation.
According to the proposal under discussion, Telefónica would increase its current participation to 70% in the companies controlled by the Italian operator. And then buy the remaining stake in Telco by March 2014, when the holding company could be dissolved. The shareholders of its matrix, Telco, recently called for an overhaul of the Italian group’s ownership structure.
Telecom Italia is struggling with nearly €29 billion ($39.23 billion) in debt and poor financial performance in the fiercely competitive Italian market.