Italian newspapers: Sawiris eying Brazil’s GVT in Telecom Italia bid

MILAN — Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris has offered to buy a stake in Telecom Italia with a view to helping fund the acquisition of Vivendi's GVT unit in Brazil, Italian newspapers said Tuesday.

Sawiris, who sold his stake in the rival Wind network last year, now wants to re-enter Italy's telecoms sector by investing in the incumbent operator.

Telecom Italia says Sawiris's offer is aimed at bringing in fresh capital "dedicated to growth projects."

According to Il Messaggero, Sawiris wants to invest 3-4 billion euros in Telecom Italia to back its bid for Brazil's Global Village Telecom, which is being sold by Vivendi.

A report in Corriere della Sera also says the money from Sawiris would help finance the purchase of GVT.

French communications conglomerate Vivendi SA is seeking to raise at least 7 billion euros (US$8.9 billion) from the sale of GVT and has attracted expressions of interest from at least four bidders, including Telecom Italia.

The shareholders of Telco, the entity that controls Telecom Italia, are split in their reactions to the Sawiris offer, Il Sole 24 Ore said.

Intesa Sanpaolo is in favour, Mediobanca is neutral while insurer Assicurazioni Generali and Spain's Telefonica are against, it said.

The paper added that Sawiris' offer is 3 billion euros.

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