Telecom Italia furore deepens as private equity groups circle

The potential €35bn sale of Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) has been thrown into doubt as a political scandal grows over the reorganisation of its parent company, Telecom Italia.

Telecom Italia was looking at separating the mobile and fixed-line telecoms businesses, eventually leading to the sale of TIM.

But an independent investigation has been launched after Italian press reports revealed that a government aide, Angelo Rovati, suggested to the Telecom Italia chairman, Marco Tronchetti Provera, to partly renationalise the fixed line service, apparently without consulting Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

Private equity groups such as Carlyle and Apax Partners are understood to be potential suitors for TIM, which is worth approximately €35bn.

Italian independent firms Labruna Mazziotti Segni and Bonelli Erede Pappalardo have taken the lead on the controversial company reorganization.

Labruna have been advising the company’s board and Bonelli is advising the competition body Antitrust, and both would have been in line to pick up work on any sale.

Labruna name partner Antonio Segni developed the client relationship while he was head of capital markets at Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners.

Segni formed his breakaway finance boutique Labruna with three other partners at the start of the year.