Telecom Italia eyes purchase of wholesale carrier Metroweb

Looking to bolster its metro and long-haul network capabilities, Telecom Italia (NYSE: TI) announced this week that it would like to acquire Milan-based fiber wholesale provider Metroweb, but it has yet to make a formal offer.

"We know there's an ongoing sale process (for Metroweb)," Bernabe said in a press conference in Venice. "We'll watch it, as will everybody else, but we haven't made any kind of advances."

Jointly owned by domestic utility A2A SpA (A2A.MI) and Stirling Square Capital Partners, Metroweb's 5,100 km network, according to local Italian press reports, could fetch between €400 million ($550 million) to over €500 million ($689 million).

The sale of Metroweb could serve as a necessary backhaul network for the country's "Fibre for Italy" Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) project that's designed to bring FTTP-based services to 20 million users in the 15 of Italy's largest cities by 2015.  

Currently, there are two proposed projects to achieve the country's FTTP goals. Telecom Italia previously proclaimed it would bring FTTP service to 138 cities by 2018, while a seven member consortium that includes Telecom Italia also said it would develop a new company to build a national FTTP network.

For more:
- Wall Street Journal has this report
- TeleGeography has this article

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