Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has reiterated his interest in acquiring shares in Telecom Italia (TI), and has designs on Telefonica’s strategic stake in the company. Sawiris, who used to own TI’s domestic rival Wind Telecomunicazioni, told newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore: ‘In the past I made my calculations and put forward a proposal. I think I would reiterate that. I would be ready to invest USD1 billion to USD2 billion. I am waiting until Telefonica makes a decision. I will be patient for a few months more’.
Sources close to Telefonica have suggested that the group would like to break up TI’s Brazilian unit TIM Brasil and share its assets with other telecom companies. Meanwhile, the Brazilian competition watchdog has given Telefonica until mid-2015 to downsize its presence in the South American country, prompting speculation that it may be willing to cash in its stake in TI.
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 Telefonica.