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KKR's bid target TIM close to decision on new CEO, sources say

Tuesday, January 11, 2022
KKR's bid target TIM close to decision on new CEO, sources say © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Telecom Italia's logo is seen at the headquarters in Rozzano neighbourhood of Milan, Italy, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandin

By Elvira Pollina

MILAN (Reuters) -Telecom Italia (TIM) is moving closer to appointing a new chief executive, with General Manager Pietro Labriola tipped as frontrunner, four sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

TIM, which faces a 10.8 billion euro ($12.24 billion) takeover approach from U.S. private equity investor KKR, has been without a CEO since November when Luigi Gubitosi stepped down following a string of profit warnings.

TIM Chairman Salvatore Rossi has called a board meeting on Jan. 21 to appoint a new CEO after a group of five directors, including representatives of TIM's top investor Vivendi (OTC:VIVHY), asked him to speed up the process, one of the sources said.

Labriola, a veteran TIM executive and the current CEO of TIM's Brazilian operations, is drawing up a new three-year business plan to relaunch the group as a standalone business.

"Labriola is a plug-and-play solution and I don't see any concrete rival to him," said a senior manager at Telecom Italia (MI:TLIT).

Debt-laden TIM has been under pressure for years due to fierce price competition in its domestic market. Its strained finances hamper investments to upgrade its network in line with Italy's digital plans.

The business plan includes a possible spin-off of TIM's assets, including its prized fixed network infrastructure, sources have previously said.

Labriola, who has the backing of Vivendi, is set to present an outline of the plan to directors on January 18 in what would mark a major step towards winning over TIM's second biggest shareholder, state lender CDP, and independent board members.

Labriola's plan, which will provide a benchmark to measure TIM's value, is a key element for TIM's response to KKR's proposal, which is conditional on backing by TIM's board and Italy's government.

French media group Vivendi, which owns 24% of TIM, has said KKR's offer does not properly reflect the value of the company.

Mediobanca (OTC:MDIBY) and Vitale&Co are working with TIM on the business plan. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and LionTree are helping TIM to study KKR's bid and possible alternatives.

CDP recently renewed a call for TIM to rekindle a stalled project to merge its network with that of fibre optic rival Open Fiber, which is 60% owned by CDP itself.

Vivendi has said it is open to handing control of TIM’s fixed network to the Italian state as part of a project led by Italian institutions, in a sign it may be interested in pursuing an alternative plan to KKR’s.

KKR's proposal also entails the separation of TIM's network assets whose oversight would be entrusted to CDP.

($1 = 0.8824 euros)

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 EUR/USD1.1274Sell
 GBP/USD1.3472↑ Buy
 USD/JPY113.87↑ Sell
 AUD/USD0.7131↑ Sell
 USD/CAD1.2638↑ Sell
 EUR/JPY128.38↑ Sell
 EUR/CHF1.0351↑ Sell
 Gold1,841.05↑ Sell
 Silver23.677↑ Sell
 Copper4.4117↑ Sell
 Crude Oil WTI83.55↑ Sell
 Brent Oil85.82↑ Sell
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 US Coffee C237.10↑ Sell
 Euro Stoxx 504,076.15Buy
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 FTSE 1007,354.16↑ Sell
 Hang Seng24,243.61↑ Buy
 Small Cap 20002,030.04↑ Buy
 IBEX 358,489.67↑ Sell
 BASF65.295↑ Buy
 Bayer50.78↑ Sell
 Allianz220.03Sell
 Adidas239.20↑ Buy
 Lufthansa6.655↑ Sell
 Siemens AG137.47↑ Buy
 Deutsche Bank AG10.964Neutral
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
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SJC Nhatrang6,190/ 6,257
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