Enel has presented informal offer for Metroweb stake: source

Reuters News
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Posted: May 07, 2016 8:00 AM

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian utility Enel has presented an informal offer to buy a majority stake in fiber network company Metroweb as part of its plans to roll out a high-speed Internet network, a source familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

The offer would see Enel acquire the 54 percent stake in Metroweb currently owned by infrastructure fund F2i for around 400 million euros, valuing the whole of Metroweb at 776 million euros, the source said.

The preliminary, informal bid was presented to state-owned Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), which owns the rest of Metroweb and a minority stake in F2i, the source added. Effectively, any friendly bid for control of Metroweb would need CDP's consent.

Enel and CDP declined to comment. F2i said in a statement it had not received an offer for its stake in Metroweb.

Rolling out a national ultra-fast broadband network is a key plank in the reformist agenda of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who has enlisted state-controlled Enel's help to achieve the goal.

Taking a majority stake in Metroweb would boost Enel's ambitions because of its fiber assets and skills.

However, phone group Telecom Italia is also interested in taking full control of Metroweb to boost its own plans to expand fast Internet coverage in Italy.

The source said Telecom Italia was expected to present its own, rival offer for Metroweb as soon as Monday. A second source said Telecom Italia would make its offer early next week.

(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Bendeich)