Bloomberg reports that talks have taken place between Telecom Italia (TI) chief executive officer Marco Patuano and Vivendi chairman Vincent Bollore, over a possible ‘alliance’ between the pair. The discussions are said to have started prior to Telefonica’s recent EUR6.7 billion (USD9 billion) bid to purchase Vivendi’s Brazilian telecoms business Global Village Telecom (GVT), as it looks to continue its expansion in Brazil and address antitrust concerns in the country.
The Spanish firm maintains a sizeable stake in TI, but is struggling to comply with a December regulatory ruling in Brazil that has questioned its role as a shareholder in the Italian firm – which owns Brazil’s second largest carrier TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil). However, a potential TI-Vivendi alliance could scupper Telefonica’s Brazilian aspirations. Details are sketchy, but it is thought that TI has offered Vivendi shares in exchange for GVT. Alternatively, there is the possibility that Telefonica could offer its TI stake as part of a GVT bid. Further, TI’s plan is understood to include it obtaining containing content distribution rights from the French media and telecoms group, which has been engaged in a process of asset shedding to shore up its balance sheet.