(Reuters) – Italy is close to granting preliminary approval to a multibillion-euro offer by state lender CDP and Macquarie Group for Telecom Italia’s landline network, Bloomberg News reported on Saturday citing people familiar with the matter.
Acceptance of the bid by CDP and Australia’s Macquarie could be announced this month, the report said, adding that a final determination hasn’t been made.
The news comes after TIM said last month an offer for its network grid tabled by U.S fund KKR & Co Inc “does not wholly reflect the value of the asset”. TIM said its objective was to facilitate an improved offer by the end of March.
Top officials with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government met on Friday to review the latest details of the bid, the report said.
KKR last month extended its offer for TIM’s landline grid by four weeks to March 24 after the government asked the U.S. fund to extend the deadline to give it more time to analyse the potential deal, in particular its sway over a sector deemed strategic for the country.
Meloni’s administration wants to secure public control of TIM’s grid, but there is no common ground within the government on how to achieve this.
Macquarie Group declined to comment on the report. CDP and Telecom Italia did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.
(Reporting by Jose Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)