Despite Italy's political chaos, one of its biggest industrial privatizations may soon take place. On Mar. 3, a consortium of four Italian banks, led by powerful merchant bank Mediobanca, offered to purchase the government's $10 billion majority stake in telecommunications giant STET. In a letter to state holding company IRI, which controls 60% of STET, the consortium offered to pay 70% of the total value of IRI's shares and float a part of those shares in a public tender offer. Prime Minister Lamberto Dini says that he expects STET to be privatized before the end of the summer.

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