Telecom Italia seeks to finalize Telecom Argentina sale

MILAN Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:23pm EST

A Telecom Italia antenna booster is seen in northern Rome November 12, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

A Telecom Italia antenna booster is seen in northern Rome November 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian phone company Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) said on Monday it confirmed a mandate to management to finalize a sale of its stake in Telecom Argentina (TEC2.BA).

The statement came after a board meeting of the Italian incumbent called to discuss the sale.

Telecom Italia is in talks to sell a controlling stake in Telecom Argentina to investment fund Fintech, as part of a new strategy aimed at raising 4 billion euros ($5.36 billion) to avoid a credit downgrade and revive its business.

Last week the Italian company said it received an $1 billion offer for its stake.

Small investors association ASATI has criticized the operation saying it would damage minority shareholders to the benefit of core investor Telefonica (TEF.MC).

The Spanish telecoms group has agreed to gradually take over its Italian rival from next year.

($1 = 0.7459 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Danilo Masoni)

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