As widely anticipated, Telefónica has initiated measures that will ultimately reduce its stake in Telecom Italia from almost 15 per cent to around 9 per cent once the Telco shareholder pact has been dissolved.
Telefónica is in talks on the sale of its stake in Telecom Italia in an effort to relieve regulatory pressure in Brazil, local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported on Friday.
The end is nigh for Telco, the largest shareholder group in Telecom Italia, after its directors approved requests from Italian investors to dissolve the shareholder pact that has existed since 2007.
The decision by three Italian investors in Telecom Italia to exit a shareholder pact that has existed since 2007 will see Telefónica become the largest direct shareholder in the Italian operator with a stake of around 15 per cent, although the demerger process is expected to take several months.
Telecom Italia confirmed that Marco Patuano will retain his role as CEO of the company, concluding a series of management decisions that also saw the Italian operator usher in a new chairman and put independent directors in charge of the board for the first time.
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris said he is prepared to invest between $1 billion (€1.38 billion) and $2 billion in Telecom Italia if Telefónica withdrew from the company, and said the Italian company needed funds for future investments.
Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano has reportedly been so impressed by AT&T's ability to transform its business in recent years that he has sought advice from the U.S. company's CEO Randall Stephenson on how to change the fortunes of the struggling Italian operator.
Telecom Italia appointed Aldo Minucci as its new chairman at its management board meeting on Thursday, filling a position that has been vacant since the resignation of former CEO and chairman Franco Bernabe last October.
Telecom Italia said it will implement "enhanced" controls on any dealings related to its Brazilian business as the company seeks to create a more independent approach to evaluating any potential sale of Tim Brasil.
The long-running Telecom Italia saga took on a further twist this week after rebel shareholder Marco Fossati reportedly redoubled his efforts to prevent a sale of Tim Brasil, which he regards as crucial for the future of the Italian incumbent.