April 13, 2019 / 3:43 PM / a month ago

TIM asks Italian watchdog to delay review over network spinoff - source

FILE PHOTO: Telecom Italia's logo is seen at its headquarters in the Rozzano neighbourhood of Milan, Italy, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian phone group Telecom Italia (TIM) has asked watchdog AGCOM to postpone its review of a plan to spin off its fixed-line network because the scheme will be modified, a source close to matter said on Saturday.

TIM CEO Luigi Gubitosi wrote to AGCOM asking to delay its assessment as talks continue with smaller network operator Open Fiber over a possible combination of their networks, the source added, confirming a report in La Repubblica newspaper.

TIM declined comment.

The future of Telecom Italia’s network has become a key bone of contention between the phone group’s top shareholders, Vivendi and activist fund Elliott.

While Elliott has been pushing for TIM to spin off its network and merge it with Open Fiber, Vivendi has opposed TIM losing control of its biggest asset.

Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), which became TIM’s second-largest shareholder and co-owns Open Fiber with utility Enel, is keen to ensure the project to create a single network becomes a reality, partly to avoid duplicating investments.

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari and Elvira Pollina; Editing by David Holmes

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