Italy to seek Antitrust clearance on TIM grid deal with KKR

Illustration shows Telecom Italia (TIM) logo

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's Treasury intends to seek assurances from the country's Antitrust body that a deal with U.S. fund KKR for a joint takeover of Telecom Italia's (TIM) grid does not harm competition, a government document showed on Tuesday.

The cabinet on Monday approved two decrees providing for the Treasury to take a 15-20% stake in NetCo, a venture comprising both TIM's domestic fixed-access network and submarine cable unit Sparkle.

One of the decrees, seen by Reuters, authorises the Treasury to submit a binding offer together with KKR and other Italian investors for NetCo, resulting in a minority stake for the ministry worth a maximum of 2.2 billion euros.

The decree will be transmitted to the Antitrust body ahead of its entry into force, the draft showed.

Under Italian legislation, the body is empowered to take legal action against any act by public administrations that infringes rules aimed at protecting competition.

The Treasury controls state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) which has a 60% stake in Open Fiber, a TIM competitor.

Economy minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Monday that CDP, an existing TIM shareholder, could play a role in the reshaping of TIM "in compliance with antitrust constraints".

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Keith Weir)