Telecom Italia becomes takeover target

riskThe former state monopoly Telecom Italia is becoming increasingly a tempting target for the latest wave of telco disintegration.

On the face of it the outfit has little to offer. Run in a typical Italian way, which involves a lot of shouting and nothing being done, the outfit desperately needs to invest in its aging infrastructure. But like most things Italian, it is flat broke.

However it has most of Italian telecommunications under its quasi-monopolistic belt and that is where it is a good deal for a company with the readies.

France’s Vivendi has been tipped as a likely buyer, although so far it has been talking about increasing its stake in the company. It is already Telecom Italia‚Äôs biggest investor with 14.9 percent.

CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine told daily Corriere della Sera it had raised its stake in Telecom Italia to just under 15 percent, replacing Telefonica as its biggest shareholder and gaining a foothold in a country it said had significant growth prospects.

Asked if the company would increase its stake further, De Puyfontaine told Corriere della Sera: “Time will tell, never say never.”

All this will be good news for Italian consumers who are likely to get a much better service if Telecom Italia is better invested and under new management.