ROME Jan 26 Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris
would be prepared to invest in Telecom Italia as long
as the group's biggest shareholder, Telefonica
withdraws, but he is not in direct talks with either company, he
told Bloomberg News.
"I am still interested in Telecom Italia but only on two
conditions: that Telefonica exits and that Telecom Italia does
not sell Brazil," he was quoted as saying by the news agency in
an interview published on Sunday.
"I think it's not good for Telecom Italia to dispose its
stake in TIM Brasil," Sawiris was quoted as saying.
"It does not make any sense to me, because it will reduce
the carrier to a regional company only focused on Italy. In the
case they will decide to sell TIM Brasil I am interested in
making an offer," he said.
No comment was immediately available from Sawiris'
The report said that Sawiris, who runs Orascom Telecom Media
and Technology, stressed that he was not considering
an unsolicited bid for TIM and that he had not held talks with
either Telecom Italia or Telefonica.
In an interview with a Brazilian newspaper last week,
Sawiris said that he would be prepared to bid for TIM
Participações SA if it were sold but was keen to
avoid seeing the unit split off from Telecom Italia.
Sawiris unsuccessfully attempted to buy a 3 billion euro
($4.11 billion) stake in Telecom Italia in 2012 and has since
revived his interest although he said last year that he was
concerned by Telefonica's position.
Telefonica owns 15 percent of Telecom Italia through
investment vehicle Telco and late last year secured an option to
gradually take over the stakes of its partners in Telco, a group
of Italian financial institutions.
The stake has brought the Spanish group complications in
Brazil because it already owns Vivo, the market
leader in Brazil and a competitor of TIM.
($1 = 0.7307 euros)
(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)