In contrast to its previously-stated position, the Italian government has indicated that it would welcome Naguib Sawiris as Telecom Italia (TI’s) main shareholder, should the Egyptian billionaire pursue plans to invest in the telco. Antonio Catricala, deputy minister of economic development, made the admission to Bloomberg, following renewed interest from the tycoon earlier this week.
Previously, in December 2012 TI rejected a EUR3 billion (USD3.91 billion) investment offer from Sawiris, who believed he could engineer a strategic turnaround. At that juncture the government favoured a rival approach from Spain’s Telefonica. US telecoms giant AT&T and Carlos Slim’s America Movil have both been named as potential bidders for TI, in light of their well publicised interests in securing assets in Europe.