Olivetti odds-on for Telecom Italia win

THE ODDS are shortening on Olivetti this week pulling off its audacious $60bn bid for Telecom Italia - albeit by the narrowest of margins - after rival bidder Deutsche Telekom ruled out any improvement in the terms of its offer at the weekend.

Although no formal statement has been made by the Italian government as to where it stands in the bid, in view of the Germans' failure to back down over Italian demands for a larger share in the merged group, the prospect of the Deutsche Telekom bid receiving the support of the Rome government is now "virtually nil".

The Italian government holds a golden share in Telecom Italia and has strong reservations about the fact that Deutsche Telekom is 72 per cent state owned.

Advisors to Olivetti, whose 11.5 euros-a-share offer for the Italian telecoms leviathan closes on Friday, said yesterday: "Nobody here is hoisting the victory flag. But before the talk in Italy was that we had a 50:50 chance of pulling it of. That is now a shade over 50:50. The Deutsche Telekom bid has run into the sand."

There are preliminary indications that Telecom Italia's core shareholders - a group of Italian institutions meant to be supportive of management, whose influence goes much further than their combined 7 per cent shareholding suggests - were preparing to tender their shares for the Olivetti bid.

Telecom Italia said at the weekend that the terms of the Deutsche Telekom merger "are and remain those of April 22 last," quashing investor hopes of a last-minute sweetening of the Telekom bid terms.

A collapse of the Deutsche Telekom bid would be a crushing blow for Ron Sommer, the charismatic chairman of the German telecoms company whose stewardship is now likely to be increasingly called into question. If the bid fails he is likely to turn his attention to One2One, the UK mobile phone company being sold by Cable & Wireless. But even here, given the level of interest already shown by competitors, he is unlikely to get anything like a clear run.

So far Olivetti has received barely 1 per cent acceptances for its offer. However, neither camp expects any firm indication of which way the battle is going before Wednesday. Many large institutions will almost certainly wait until the last minute before deciding which way to jump.

As tension mounted the battle was become increasingly ill-tempered, with Deutsche Telekom's bid threatening to become ensnared in a plethora of legal actions and Telecom Italia talking of invoking technicalities to frustrate Olivetti.

Olivetti's advisers believe it is highly significant that Enel, which is 100 per cent Italian state owned, has been allowed to join France Telecom in suing Deutsche Telekom over Wind, their Italian telecoms joint venture.

Franco Bernabe, the head of Telecom Italia, said yesterday he did not expect Olivetti would get more than 50 per cent of the shares. Olivetti has said it needs 67 per cent of Telecom Italia shares in order to merge with Telecom Italia, but if it gets less than 35 per cent it will walk away.

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
peopleLynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance moves audience to tears
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

News
news

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

Helpdesk Analyst

£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London