KKR Makes $12 Billion Approach to Take Telecom Italia Private

Telecom Italia (TIM) has received a 10.8 billion euro ($12 billion) approach from U.S. fund KKR aimed at taking Italy's biggest phone group private, the company said on Sunday, Reuters reported. KKR's move comes as TIM's CEO Luigi Gubitosi battles for survival after coming under fire from top investor Vivendi following two profit warnings in three months. TIM said KKR had set an indicative price of 0.505 euros for its possible buyout offer -- a 45.7% premium to the ordinary shares' closing price on Friday. KKR would also offer the same price for TIM's savings shares. The TIM board, chaired by former Bank of Italy official Salvatore Rossi, met for several hours on Sunday afternoon but in a short statement it gave no indication of whether it would support the approach. It noted that KKR had termed its action as "friendly" and aimed at winning the backing of the company and of the government. Italy's Treasury said foreign interest in Italian companies was "positive news for the country" and the market would assess how valid KKR's plan is were it to materialise. The government will closely follow developments with a focus on plans for TIM's fixed-line assets, which would be key in determining whether it uses its veto powers. Read more.
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