Italy, KKR discussing terms of state investment into fixed line grid – sources

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Treasury and U.S. fund KKR are negotiating a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that would set the terms of a state-backed bid for Telecom Italia’s (TIM) landline grid, two people familiar with the matter said.

The preliminary agreement could be signed as early as this week, one of the sources said, adding that discussions were still ongoing.

The Treasury could join KKR in its preliminary 23 billion euro ($25 billion) bid for TIM’s grid and secure a government stake in the venture that will own the network, alongside other potential state-backed investors, the sources said.

Debt-laden TIM has granted KKR an exclusivity period until the end of September to negotiate a binding bid for Netco, a venture comprising both TIM’s fixed domestic access grid and submarine cable unit Sparkle.

($1 = 0.9127 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Giuseppe Fonte; writing by Valentina Za; Editing by Alvise Armellini)