Private equity giants KKR, CVC may team up on Telecom

Private equity giants KKR, CVC may team up on Telecom

KKR, CVC Are Saying to Weigh Teaming Up on Telecom Italia Bid

Private equity giants KKR Co. and CVC Capital Partners are considering teaming up on a bid for Telecom Italia SpA, a move that would help share the financial burden for Europe's biggest-ever leveraged buyout, people with knowledge of the matter said.

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The people who asked not to be identified said that the two investment firms have held exploratory talks about the potential for a joint offer.

Telecom Italia's shares rose by 2.8% in Friday morning trading. They were up 0.9% to 48.82 euro cents at 10: 38 a.m. in Milan.

Since the start of the epidemic, KKR has been one of the most active dealmakers in the world. Club deals - where multiple buyout firms partner on an acquisition are becoming increasingly popular amid a scarcity of potential targets and a desire to hunt ever-larger prey.

CVC is studying a possible acquisition of Telecom Italia for several months, according to the people. The people said that the private equity firms are still debating the merits of teaming up and there is no certainty that they will proceed with a joint offer. The people said that CVC is an equal partner and that it is a minority investor.

Advent International, which had been talking about partnering with CVC, has cooled off due to the complexity of the transaction and the Italian government s perceived support for the KKR bid, the people said.

Representatives for Advent, CVC and KKR didn't want to make a statement. Telecom Italia's press office didn't respond immediately to emailed queries.

The U.S. suitor is considering how much it would need to raise its bid to win over reticent investors, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

Telecom Italia Chief Executive Officer Luigi Gubitosi urged the company s board to take swift action on KKR's bid. According to Bloomberg, a takeover of Telecom Italia would rank as Europe's biggest private equity buyout, including 22 billion euros of net debt.

The people said that while KKR is studying whether to bring in a partner, the firm s focus remains on its existing proposal. According to the people, it has the ability to finance the offer on its own and could also rope in some of its fund's limited partners as co-investors.

CVC, one of the world's largest private equity firms, completed a 21.3 billion-euro fundraising last year for its latest flagship fund. Past investments in Italy include financial services firm Cerved Group SpA and drugmaker Recordati SpA.

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