According to Telegeography and others, Telecom Italia is taking a hard look at a Metroweb, although they have yet to make an actual offer. Metroweb owns and operates a very deep metro/regional network centered on Milan, with some 5,100km of cable in the ground. They also have intercity fiber connecting those assets to other Italian cities. That they are for sale does not seem to be in question, with the price tag said to be in the EUR400-500M range, or $550-650M.
Unlike in the US, there hasn’t been an M&A frenzy over metro fiber in Europe yet. I do wonder though if there aren’t other potential suitors for this fiber. Colt Group (LON:COLT, news) and perhaps Interoute might find it interesting, for example. Even Level 3 might if they weren’t otherwise occupied, since their metro footprint in Europe is still mainly the nine or so markets they built out in a decade ago even as their intercity presence has expanded. There’s also the very real possibility that US-based private equity might expand its horizons a bit now that the easy domestic targets have been snapped up, and look at Milan as an untapped opportunity. But as the incumbent with the most direct interest in Italy, Telecom Italia probably has first dibs.
Despite the fact that I live for this stuff, I have to admit that I had never heard of Metroweb before today – and that’s a rather large pile of fiber to be unaware of. I still can’t find a handy network map with which to visualize the asset though (if anyone can, do send me a link!).
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