ROME, Jan 26 (Reuters) - 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’ representatives.
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