Stakes still high for Egyptian billionaire’s Telecom Italia deal

Stakes still high for Egyptian billionaire’s Telecom Italia dealNaguib Sawiris says he is “still interested” in buying a stake in Telecom Italia – but only if the telecom firm’s largest shareholder exits.

The Egyptian billionaire was rebuffed in late 2012 after making an initial approach to buy a stake in the Milan-based Telecom Italia.

Sawiris told Bloomberg that he is ready to invest in the company, but only if shareholder Telefonica exits, and that the Italian telecoms firm does not sell its stake in the Brazilian carrier Tim Participacoes.

The Madrid-based Telefonica has faced pressure in Brazil over “potential conflicts of interest in the country”, Bloomberg reported.

“I am still interested in Telecom Italia but only on two conditions: that Telefonica exits and that Telecom Italia does not sell Brazil,” Sawiris told Bloomberg.

“From a financial point of view, Telecom Italia still needs a massive 3 to 4 billion euros capital increase,” he added, although did not specify how much he is willing to invest.

Sawiris is one of the richest people in Egypt, with his fortune estimated by Forbes at $2.7 billion.

He plans to invest $1 billion in Egypt in the first quarter of 2014, Reuters reported in December.

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