Italian incumbent reportedly plans to offload minority stake in order to pay off debt

TIM plans to hire advisors to help it evaluate a spinoff of its fixed-line network, it emerged this week.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the Italian incumbent plans to sell a minority stake in a separated network unit in order to help it pay down its debt. Such a move would help ease government concerns over major TIM shareholder Vivendi’s control over what it considers a strategically important national asset.

According to sources cited in the report, TIM CEO Amos Genish disclosed the plans to Carlo Calenda, Italy’s minister of economic development, on Monday.

Meanwhile, a separate La Stampa report this week alleged that TIM’s board will meet on 5 December to discuss the possibility of launching a strategic review that could result in a network spinoff (in Italian; subscription required).

In mid-October, Rome exercised its golden power and imposed several conditions on TIM designed to protect what it considers strategic national assets from external influences, namely French media conglomerate Vivendi, which was recently ruled to have de facto control over the telco.

Under the ruling, the government has allocated "human, financial and instrumental resources" to maintain the independence of any business activity relating to national security, namely TIM’s phone operation; wholesale division Sparkle; and Telsy Elettronica, which provides security services for handsets used by politicians and the military.