After more than a year of discussions, the deal will hand majority control of the fibre network to state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP)

Since last year, Italian utility company Enel has been in talks with Australian fund Macquarie regarding a sale of its 50% stake in the fibre infrastructure company Open Fiber for around €2.65 billion. In December, the two companies reached an agreement, though whether Enel would be selling 40% or 50% to Macquarie was left undecided.

Now, Enel has announced that it will in fact be selling just 40% of its equity to Macquarie, with the final 10% being sold to CDP. This will give CDP a controlling share in Open Fiber with a 60% stake.

The CDP will pay €530 million for the 10% stake, while Macquarie will pay €2.12 billion for their share.

The deal is expected to close by the end of November. 

In theory, this move should make the beleaguered merger of Open Fiber’s network with TIM’s fibre network more likely; as well as now being the majority stakeholder in Open Fiber, CDP is also the second largest shareholder in TIM. 

However, despite progress being made towards a deal at the end of 2020, since the new government under Mario Draghi has taken power the plan itself is being re-evaluated. Alternatives to the merger are currently being proposed, with suggestions ranging from less ambitious plans of merging Open Fiber with TIM’s Fiber Cop ‘last mile’ network, to the creation of a new consortium containing all of the country’s operators in order to boost fibre roll out. 

Draghi’s government itself has announced that it will spend almost €7 billion on telecoms infrastructure over the next six years using money from the European Union’s Recovery Fund, increasing the previous spending budget by over €2 billion.


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