July 13, 2020 / 4:41 PM / a month ago

Enel draws interest from Wren House for Open Fiber stake

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian utility Enel (ENEI.MI) has received an expression of interest from infrastructure fund Wren House for its stake in broadband network company Open Fiber, two sources said on Monday on condition of anonymity.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Italian multinational energy company Enel is seen at the Milan's headquarter, Italy, February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

Wren House, the London-based infrastructure investment arm of Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund KIA, is interested in the 50% stake Enel (ENEI.MI) holds, one of the sources said.

The sources declined to say how much any offer would be worth.

Enel and Wren House declined to comment.

Enel said in June it had received a non-binding bid from Macquarie Infrastructure Real Asset to buy all or part of its stake in Open Fiber.

Enel owns 50% of the wholesale-only fiber-to-the-home operator with the rest in the hands of state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

Sources said the Macquarie bid valued Open Fiber at just short of 8 billion euros ($9.10 billion) including debt and potential synergies from a possible tie-up with larger rival Telecom Italia (TIM)(TLIT.MI).

TIM has held talks over a merger of its fibre network assets with those of Open Fiber, but differences over issues such as governance and regulation have thwarted efforts.

On Saturday, a source said the government has told Enel CEO Francesco Starace to reach a deal with TIM by the end of July on plans to create a single broadband network.

Rome sees building an ultra-fast broadband network as crucial to reviving its coronavirus-hit economy and to bridging the gap between Italy and other European countries with more advanced digital infrastructure.

TIM, which itself is partly owned by CDP, is also in talks with KKR for the sale of 40% of its last-mile network, valued at up to 7.5 billion euros.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Giuseppe Fonte; editing by Sabina Suzzi and Barbara Lewis

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