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Italy Lender CDP Prepares TIM Counter-Offer with Macquarie

ROME, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and Australian fund Macquarie are preparing a counter-offer for Telecom Italia's (TIM) network assets worth about 20 billion euros ($21.46 billion), Il Messaggero newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The move would be a response to U.S. investment firm KKR, which last week filed its own offer for the same Telecom Italia (TIM) asset, reportedly also worth around 20 billion euros.

Il Messaggero said CDP would put in 60% of the offer and Macquarie the remaining 40%. It reported that the bid was being prepared with the help of Credit Suisse (CSAG.UL), BofA Merrill Lynch and the BonelliErede law firm.

The paper also said CDP Chief Executive Dario Scannapieco met with Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti to agree on a move that would fit with the government's aim to put TIM's network under public control.

On Tuesday, sources close to the matter told Reuters that CDP was sounding out banks that could help finance its offer for TIM's grid assets, but one source indicated that CDP was likely to present a bid just with Macquarie.

CDP is the second-largest shareholder in TIM, after France's Vivendi, but also controls Open Fiber, which has a rival fibre optic network infrastructure that would be combined with TIM's assets.

Macquarie is already a minority investor in Open Fiber and has been involved for months in a plan to combine the two network infrastructures.

Carving out and ceding control of TIM's prized landline is a focal point of TIM CEO Pietro Labriola's strategy to cut the group's 25.5-billion-euro debt pile and fund much-needed investments to upgrade its infrastructure from copper to fibre.

($1 = 0.9319 euros)

Writing by Alvise Armellini, editing by Gavin Jones

Source: Reuters

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