A consortium led by French private equity group, Ardian, is the frontrunner to buy a 25% stake in Italy’s biggest mobile towers group INWIT, according to Reuter’s sources.
As communications companies continue to invest in 5G towers, Telecom Italia and Vodafone agreed in July 2019 to put their Italian mobile tower assets into TIM’s 60%-owned unit INWIT. This move was designed to cut debt and free up cash for 5G network roll-out.
European Union antitrust clearance
The 10 billion euro merger deal is now waiting European Union antitrust clearance. If cleared, TIM and Vodafone will have 37.5% each of the new, bigger INWIT. The two phone groups have already agreed to sell a combined 25% stake, which is worth around 2 billion euros.
Reuters sources said that a consortium led by Ardian is close to being picked after a thorough negotiation process and that Ardian was expected to secure the asset.
Assuming the merger gets European Union antitrust clearance it will significantly change Italy’s telecom landscape and 5G network roll-out.