There is some interesting network M&A talk going over in southern Europe this morning. Telecom Italia, which has been looking at the Italian metro and regional netork of Metroweb for some time now, may be planning to use its Sparkle international division to get the deal done.
Metroweb is currently owned by FSI and F2i, and the idea would be to buy out F2i for cash but swap 25% of Sparkle for FSI's stake. Sparkle has been more visible in the last year or two, especially in the Mediterranean and the Middle East but in Africa and the Americas as well.
The Italian market is a bit of an enigma to me. FSI itself is owned by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, a bank 80% owned by the Italian government. Meanwhile, ENEL, a power company also owned by the government, is apparently planning to build out a national fiber network in competition to Metroweb, thus pitting government money versus government money, in a roundabout way. Meanwhile, the incumbent provider, Telecom Italia, is trying to figure out a way to penetrate its own markets.
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