Telecom Italia gets refinanced, weighs sales

Telecom Italia's parent company is getting much-needed re-financing help from Spain's Telefonica and other existing investors. Those investors, which hold a stake of just under 25 percent in the Italian company, said they will refinance about a third of the Telecom Italia debt coming due next month. At various times, there have been rumors and suggestions that Telefonica should acquire control of Telecom Italia, though that possibility has been strongly opposed by the Italian government and doesn't appear to be in the cards for now.

Meanwhile, Telecom Italia is continuing to weigh possible asset sales, including the possibility of selling Sparkle, its unit catering to other carriers and to corporate customers. Reportedly, the company will soon discuss the potential sale of its stake in Telecom Argentina. Telecom Italia recently sold its German unit, Hansenet, to Telefonica, and in a statement released Wednesday, the company said it has seen a somewhat improving, but still risky, environment for asset sales.

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has more on the refinancing
- Reuters has this story on the possible Sparkle sale

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