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Vodafone Interested in Buying at Least 10% in Italy’s Metroweb

Vodafone Group Plc’s Italian unit is interested in buying a stake of at least 10 percent in local fiber-optic company Metroweb SpA.

The British phone operator has already contacted Metroweb and some shareholders, Vodafone’s Italian Chief Excecutive Officer Paolo Bertoluzzo told Corriere della Sera. A Vodafone spokeswoman confirmed his comments.

Metroweb, the owner of Milan’s largest fiber-optic network, said in October it plans to roll out fiber in Italian cities with a focus on the north of the country. Customers using Metroweb’s network include Telecom Italia SpA, Fastweb SpA, Vodafone and Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA. Fastweb, controlled by Swisscom AG, last month agreed to buy 11 percent of Metroweb.

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA’s IMI Investimenti unit and infrastructure fund F2i SpA in May agreed to buy Metroweb from London-based private-equity firm Stirling Square Capital Partners and A2A SpA in a deal valuing it at 436 million euros ($587 million)

Metroweb, whose network is the biggest in the northern Italian city of Milan and the surrounding region of Lombardy, has more than 7,200 kilometers (4,474 miles) of cables in an area with potential users in 800,000 households.

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