Telecom Italia has choice of break-up or expansion - paper

MILAN Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:17am EST

MILAN Nov 15 (Reuters) - The board of Telecom Italia will be faced with the choice of breaking up its businesses or an international relaunch with the backing of Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris when it meets on Dec. 6, Il Corriere della Sera reported.

Sawiris wants to re-enter Italy by investing in Telecom Italia via a capital increase.

While the temptation to break up a group weighed down by debt is large, nobody wants to talk about it openly because of the sensitivity of the issue, the paper said on Thursday.

At the board meeting, chairman Franco Bernabe will propose buying Global Village Telecom, the Brazilian telecom group being sold by French company Vivendi, the paper said.

The deal would be funded in part by a capital increase underwritten, in part or wholly, by Sawiris, the paper said.

Telecom Italia shareholder Marco Fossati, who owns around 5 percent, has welcomed the move by Sawiris, newspapers said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Spanish group Telefonica said it wanted to remain a long-term shareholder in Telecom Italia and ruled out selling its stake to cut its own debt. (Reporting By Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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