Italy: Xavier Niel buys Telecom Italia stake

Telecoms tycoon Xavier Niel has become the second-largest shareholder in Telecom Italia behind Vincent Bollore’s Vivendi, giving two French billionaires sway over the future of Italy’s biggest carrier.

Niel, the 48-year old founder of low-cost French mobile operator Iliad (ILD.PA), holds the equivalent of an 11.2 percent voting stake in Telecom Italia, according to a regulatory filing, bought through derivatives and options.

Niel’s surprise arrival at Telecom Italia sent shares up as much as 11 percent to highs not seen since mid-2008, before paring back gains to close up 9 percent.

The move opens a new chapter at heavily indebted Telecom Italia, which until earlier this year was controlled by Spain’s Telefonica and a group of Italian financial institutions.

Full content: Reuters

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