Telecom Italia sells web unit in 88 mln euro deal

MILAN Thu Aug 9, 2012 6:57am EDT

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MILAN Aug 9 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its Matrix web unit to Internet company Libero for 88 million euros ($109 million) including debt, as Italy's biggest telecoms group seeks to cut debt during an economic downturn.

Telecom Italia sought earlier in August to reassure investors it would meet its debt-reduction targets without further dividend cuts after first-half core earnings were hit by recession in Italy and weak growth in Brazil.

The deal with Libero, belonging to the Weather Investment II holding company of Egypt's Naguib Sawiris, is expected to be finalised mid-November, Telecom Italia said in a statement.

Matrix, which has the Italian web portal Vigilio and operates directory assistance services, posted sales of 96 million euros in 2011 and employs 280 people.

As part of its debt-cutting efforts, Telecom Italia has also put up for sale its Telecom Italia Media television unit and is considering separating its fixed line network. ($1 = 0.8093 euros) (Reporting By Danilo Masoni)

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