* Listing plan still lacking details - newspaper
* IPO would meet strong investor demand - source
MILAN, April 27 Telecom Italia could
float its valuable Italian fixed-line network on the stockmarket
to keep it separate from any possible tie-up with Hutchison
Whampoa, an Italian newspaper said in an unsourced
report on Saturday.
Italy's former monopoly telecoms operator earlier this month
appointed a panel of directors to look at a possible tie-up with
the Hong Kong-based group and also asked its management to look
into the feasibility of spinning off the network.
Daily Il Messaggero said the plan for a separate listing for
the fixed line network, which still has to be defined in detail,
would see Italian state-backed fund Cassa Depositi e Prestiti
(CDP) taking up a stake and would be carried out in a relatively
short period of time.
No one at Telecom Italia could be reached immediately for
Sources have told Reuters that the planned tie-up could see
Hutchison owning 29.9 percent of Telecom Italia in return for
selling its 3 Italia mobile business to the Italian group and
buying out some core shareholders.
Excluding the fixed-line network from the deal would avoid a
major political hurdle. Italian politicians have voiced
opposition to foreign ownership of an asset deemed to be of
strategic national importance.
Telecom Italia has been in talks for months to separate its
domestic fixed-line network into a new company in which CDP
would buy a significant minority stake.
But disagreements over governance issues and the valuation
of the network, which by some estimates could be worth 12
billion to 15 billion euros ($15.6-19.5 billion), have made it
difficult to reach a deal.
But a source familiar with the matter has told Reuters that
a listing of the fixed line network would meet strong investor
A public share offer would also help the parties settle
differences over price, Il Messaggero said.
Telecom Italia is expected to decide on whether to pursue
talks with Hutchison by the time of its next board meeting on
(Reporting By Danilo Masoni; Editing by Greg Mahlich)