TIM CEO is ready to step aside to take up KKR’s $37 bn bid

Telecom Italia (TIM) Chief Executive Officer Luigi Gubitosi said on Thursday he was ready to step aside in order to allow the group’s board to assess KKR’s $37 billion takeover proposal, Reuters reported.
TIM digital store
Luigi Gubitosi, in a letter to the board members, said the board should not put off the decision on KKR’s bid as it could be interpreted as defending interests of certain shareholders.

U.S. private equity firm KKR has submitted a non-binding proposal to buy Telecom Italia, valuing the telecom operator at 33 billion euros ($37 billion) including net debt.

French media group Vivendi is the largest single shareholder in TIM.

KKR already has spent 1.8 billion euros for a 37.5 percent stake in TIM’s last-mile network reaching into people’s homes.

The Italian government, led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, has said its stance on KKR’s proposal will depend on plans for TIM’s infrastructure assets. Italy has golden powers to shield strategic companies such as TIM from unwanted foreign interest.

The government has hailed KKR’s interest as good news for Italy, setting up a special committee to oversee developments with the bid.

TIM’s top investor has spent on average 1.07 euros per share to build its 24 percent stake, which it carries on its books at 0.83 euros. KKR’s offer, equivalent to 0.505 euros a share, exposes it to a big capital loss.

Vivendi is at loggerheads with Gubitosi who was brought in by rival TIM investor Elliott in 2018 and is pushing to oust him to have a bigger say over strategy. Gubitosi’s future will be in the spotlight again at a board meeting planned for Friday, the report said.