Telecom Italia chief, Italy PM met on fixed-line spinoff plans-source

MILAN Mon May 20, 2013 6:37pm EDT

MILAN May 20 (Reuters) - Franco Bernabe, the chairman of Telecom Italia, met Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Monday to discuss plans to spin off the group's domestic fixed-line network, a source familiar with the situation said late on Monday.

The meeting comes ahead of a board meeting on Thursday to decide on the dismantling of the former state-owned telecom monopoly's fixed-line access network, a valuable asset seen as of national strategic importance.

Bernabe "was there for the spinoff," the source said of the meeting.

Separating the network assets into a new company could pave the way for the sale of a minority stake to state-backed financing body Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.

The access network is estimated to be worth between 12 billion and 15 euros ($15.43 billion-$19.28 billion).

Bernabe has previously said the separation of the network would be a complex, time-consuming process, adding that any such deal would have to be discussed with the government and regulators.

Telecom Italia could not be immediately reached for a comment.

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