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
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

BA/PM,EMIR/Dodd-Frank,London,£450-650P/D

£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Senior Analyst - ALM Data - Banking - Halifax

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...

Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/day

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star