Tim, Kkr crosses the finish line on the net

Tim’s goal transfer entered the final straight. Yesterday, in fact, the American fund KKR filed the notification of the operation with the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission. Now Brussels will have 25 working days (35 effective) before giving the definitive green light to the phase one operation, therefore without requesting additional information. No negative surprises are expected for at least two reasons: first of all because it is a spin-off operation – and not a concentration – and therefore has the profile of a deal that potentially increases competition on the market; secondly, the notification itself represents a signal that potential critical issues have been overcome. Moreover, as seen for the Ita-Lufthansa wedding, the pre-notification phase (the conversations that take place before the formal notification) can be extended by several months if there are particular findings from the EU Antitrust. The fact that this has not happened means that, barring imponderable events, the most that can be expected is the refinement of some details, without the request for significant remedies capable of ruining the operation. Assuming, therefore, that everything goes according to plan, the closing (and therefore the detachment of the KKR check) should arrive by the end of May or in any case shortly after. All ahead of the schedule which envisaged closing the operation by June.

The notification to the EU marks a decisive turning point also for those who are still trying to oppose the project to sell the fixed network. Starting from the first shareholder Vivendi, which with its 23.7% of the capital has not yet resolved its reservations about the vote in the shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday 23rd for the renewal of the company’s top management. Barring last-minute surprises, however, everything suggests that abstention – which would end up favoring the board of directors’ list, which proposes the confirmation of the current CEO Pietro Labriola – is the most likely path. There are also those who wonder about the possibility that, following the abstention, Vivendi will ultimately decide to also let the legal case in the Milan court lapse, with a first hearing scheduled for May 21st. But even in the case of a French vote for one of the alternative lists – that of Bluebell or Merlyn Partners – the risk is that Bollorè and his associates find themselves in the minority with the aggravating circumstance of a gesture of defiance towards the Italian government, which has already expressed his opinion on the sale of the network.

As for the meeting, the forecast is for a high turnout (around 60-62% of the capital) and therefore Vivendi’s vote would weigh 37-38% of voters, but even in that case the board of directors, barring surprises , it should succeed. In fact, the indications favorable to the Labriola list from the proxies ISS and Glass Lewis have come to comfort the status quo. And there is the collection of proxies from Morrow Sodali, in addition to the explicit support of Norges Bank (estimated at 2-3% of voting rights), various pension funds, Blackrock and Vanguard. An account to which must be added a 3.75% of Italian institutions and a 10.5% between Cdp and treasury shares. All while waiting for the small members, with 290 thousand people who will have until Monday to decide whether and how to participate in the vote (they account for 17.8%).

In short, at least on paper the list of the board of directors is the favourite.


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