UPDATE 2-French businessman Niel sees Telecom Italia as predator

viernes 18 de diciembre de 2015 10:48 GYT

* Niel says perception of Telecom Italia as target wrong

* Telecom Italia CEO says Niel has "strong and clear" vision

* Telecom Italia most heavily traded stock in Europe by volume (Adds details, analysts, comment from Telecom Italia CEO, shares)

By Agnieszka Flak

MILAN, Dec 18 (Reuters) - French businessman Xavier Niel sees Telecom Italia as a predator rather than a prey in Europe's consolidating telecoms market and has ideas on how to strengthen the group after emerging as potentially its second biggest investor, he told a newspaper.

Telecom Italia has been at the centre of feverish speculation since Niel disclosed in October that he had bought options that could hand him a 15.1 percent holding in the firm, behind French media group Vivendi's 20.5 percent stake.

In his first detailed comments since then, Niel told Italian daily La Stampa he was an industrial investor in the group and not a financial "raider".

However, he declined to comment on whether he plans to convert his options into shares.

Niel said heavily-indebted Telecom Italia, which has been struggling for years with a lack of clear strategy and is regarded as a potential takeover target, had "all it takes" to become an aggregator in the European telecoms market.   Continuación...