BlackRock ups stake in Telecom Italia ahead of vote for control

BlackRock raised its stake in Telecom Italia to make it the struggling firm’s second-biggest investor ahead of a vote for control, but did not say if it would side with top shareholder Telefonica or rebels fighting the Spanish firm’s strategy. The world’s biggest money manager said on Monday it had a voting stake of 7.8 percent in Italy’s biggest telecoms group, which is trying to end years of sluggish growth and cut 28 billion euros ($38 billion) in debt. Telefonica believes the key to survival is selling Telecom Italia’s Brazilian business – valued at over $11 billion – to lighten debts that remain heavy despite the sale of assets in Argentina and the issue of convertible bonds. But businessman Marco Fossati, an investor with a 5 percent stake in Telecom Italia, says selling TIM Participacoes, known as TIM Brasil, would damage Telecom Italia’s business.


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