March 3, 2018 / 5:55 PM / 8 months ago

Telecom Italia says still controls process for selling Persidera stake

FILE PHOTO: Telecom Italia new logo is seen at the headquarter in Rozzano neighbourhood of Milan, Italy, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia (TIM) (TLIT.MI) said on Saturday the transfer of its majority stake in broadcasting unit Persidera to a trust did not affect its control over the sale of the stake.

Vivendi (VIV.PA) last year agreed to sell TIM’s 70 percent stake in Persidera to win antitrust approval for its own plan to gain de facto control of the Italian phone group. The remaining 30 percent of Persidera is owned by Italian media group GEDI (GEDI.MI).

Last month, TIM’s board voted in favor of the only official offer it had received for the stake, from infrastructure fund F2i and tower group Rai Way (RWAY.MI), which valued Persidera at around 250 million euros ($308 million).

But it also left the door open to other binding bids.

Sources said that U.S. fund I Squared Capital had submitted a non-binding expression of interest in Persidera valuing the unit at 290 million euros.

A source said on Friday that TIM had transferred its Persidera stake into a blind trust to respect a timeline agreed with EU authorities while negotiations with Raiway-F2i and with the U.S. fund continue.

TIM said on Saturday that this move did not affect its control over the stake sale, however.

“The conferment to Advolis S.A. of a proxy to act in the sale ... has not determined any transfer of said stake, over which TIM retains full and exclusive ownership,” it said.

“The proxy-holder will act in coordination with the Chief Executive Officer of TIM on the basis of the RaiWay-F2i offer already approved by the company’s board... or any other binding offer previously and duly approved by said board,” TIM said.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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