RPT-Telecom Italia wants to close Inwit sale or merger by year-end -sources
(Repeats with reporting credits, no change to text)
MILAN, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia wants to close a sale or merger of its transmission tower arm Inwit by the end of 2015, two sources familiar with the matter said, as the Italian phone group is looking at options for the unit.
The board of Telecom Italia on Friday mandated Chief Executive Marco Patuano to explore ways to extract value from Inwit.
The indebted Italian telecoms incumbent in June listed 40 percent of Inwit on the Milan stock exchange and since then shares have risen 22 percent. A sale now could help Telecom Italia to reduce the 27 billion euros ($30 billion) in net debt it held at mid-year.
One of the two sources said Telecom Italia was ready to cede control of Inwit but wanted to keep a minority stake in it.
Telecom Italia declined to comment.
Patuano this week signalled for the first time that Inwit could be a takeover target by saying all options regarding the future of the unit were open.
Spanish telecoms masts group Cellnex Telecom and Italian infrastructure fund F2i are interested in Inwit, several sources have said.
Cellnex is the telecoms arm of Spanish toll road operator Abertis, which in March bought 7,400 mobile telephone towers from Italian operator Wind for nearly 700 million euros.
($1 = 0.8938 euros) (Reporting by Stefano Rebaudo and Danilo Masoni, writing by Valentina Za; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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