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2014-10-03

Sol

Sol Trujillo in bid to buy Telecom Italia

Former Telstra CEO, Sol Trujillo, is reported to be trying to raise as much as €7.5 billion ($10.8 billion) to bid for a stake in Telecom Italia, Italy’s No 1 telco.

The investment would give Trujillo and any backers ownership of about half the company, based on current market values. The plan would also see Trujillo become CEO of the company and, in a strategy reminiscent of his Telstra days, bring in his own team of managers.

Trujillo’s plan depends on gaining the support of large international financiers, such as the sovereign wealth funds of Qatar and Abu Dhabi with whom he is said to be negotiating.

It remains to be seen whether they can be persuaded by his vision for re-energising the debt-laden carrier through investment in a high speed national fibre network.

The plan is not Trujillo’s first such exercise since he left Telstra. In 2012 he attempted to construct a takeover bid for US mobile carrier T-Mobile USA, but apparently failed to gain enough support from private equity sources.

It is probably not surprising that Trujillo, who is still only 62 and always did think big, is wanting to roll the dice in the industry at least one more time. It is more striking that his focus is reportedly now on wireline rather than wireless services, given his single-minded but far-sighted focus on mobiles during his Australian years.

Telco watchers will follow the development of this story with interest.

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