Telecom Italia Board Gives CEO Mandate to Explore Inwit Sale

Telecom Italia SpA’s board of directors gave a mandate to Chief Executive Officer Marco Patuano to explore a possible sale of the phone company’s stake in Inwit SpA, the mobile-phone tower division that held an initial public offering earlier this year.

"Telecom Italia will explore opportunities to enhance the value of the Inwit stake," according to a Telecom Italia statement released after its board met in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

Inwit shares have jumped about 25 percent since their June debut in Milan, valuing Telecom Italia’s 60 percent stake at 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion). Cellnex Telecom SAU, the Spanish tower operator spun off by Abertis Infraestructuras SA in May, is a potential bidder, with one scenario recently discussed being a purchase of half of Telecom Italia’s stake in Inwit, people familiar with the matter said last week.

Italy’s largest phone carrier also discussed the performance of its Brazilian unit Tim Participacoes SA, which generates about 30 percent of its revenue. Telecom Italia said it’s committed “for the long term” to the Brazilian market, while Tim’s Chief Executive Officer Rodrigo Abreu confirmed the company’s 2015-2017 investment plan of 14 billion reias ($3.5 billion) Telecom Italia owns about two-thirds of Tim.

Telecom Argentina SA CEO Elisabetta Ripa said in the statement that the company remained committed to the country pending the sale to Mexican financier David Martinez.

Telecom Italia also said the planned merger with Telecom Italia Media SpA will take effect Sept. 30.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.