FILE PHOTO: Telecom Italia’s logo is seen at the headquarters in Rozzano neighbourhood of Milan, Italy, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

March 17, 2022

MILAN (Reuters) – Telecom Italia (TIM) this week began a dialogue with U.S. private equity fund KKR over a takeover approach which has been put on hold since last November, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The former phone monopoly on Sunday mandated newly appointed Chief Executive Pietro Labriola and Chairman Salvatore Rossi to start formal discussions with the U.S. giant over its buyout proposal valuing TIM at 10.8 billion euros ($11.9 billion)excluding debt.

In a letter sent this week, TIM requested clarifications over KKR’s plans for the debt-laden telecoms group and the structure of its offer, sources familiar with the matter said, confirming a report by Italian daily La Stampa.

TIM last week said there was “untapped value” in the company which needed to be considered when weighing alternatives to its own plan to revamp the group through a spinoff of its network infrastructure.

KKR is expected to respond within days to provide clarifications to TIM’s requests, the sources added.

A first meeting between TIM executives and KKR representatives could be arranged by the end of March, although no date has been decided yet, one of the people added.

Telecom Italia’s shares are flat at 0.30 euros, way below KKR’s indicative offer valuing TIM at 0.505 euro a share.

KKR’s approach received a cool reception from TIM’s top investor Vivendi, which billed the offer as too low.

($1 = 0.9060 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Keith Weir)

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