Telecom Italia Said to Boost Tower IPO to Up to $1.1 Billion

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Telecom Italia SpA plans to raise as much as 960 million euros ($1.1 billion) from an initial public offering of its wireless-tower unit, boosting the target after advisers increased their valuation estimates, people familiar with the matter said.

The unit, called Inwit, is worth 2 billion euros to 2.4 billion euros, according to the advisers’ latest and final assessment, the people said. They asked not to be identified because the review was sent only to investors and isn’t yet public.

Telecom Italia intends to sell a 40 percent stake in the unit in an IPO. In April, a person familiar with the plan said Inwit could be valued at 1.8 billion euros, meaning Telecom Italia would raise about 730 million euros. The IPO price range will be set in early June, the two people said.

European telecommunications and infrastructure companies are carving out assets to take advantage of record-high equity prices to reduce debt. Abertis Infraestructuras SA’s phone-towers unit was valued at 3.2 billion euros in an IPO in early May, and Telefonica SA in January was exploring a sale of its German wireless towers, people familiar with the matter said at the time. Abertis’s tower unit, Cellnex Telecom SAU, has gained about 12 percent in Madrid trading since its IPO.

Telecom Italia in March filed an IPO request for Inwit, which owns about 11,500 sites.

A spokesman for Telecom Italia declined to comment on the latest valuation.

The shares rose as much as 1.4 percent and traded 1.3 percent higher at 2:54 p.m. in Milan.

The proposed valuation is based on a range of 15 to 18 times Inwit’s 2014 pro-forma earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the two people familiar with the plan said.

Banca IMI SpA, Mediobanca SpA, Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG are advising Inwit on the IPO.