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Swisscom wants full control of troubled Fastweb

Swisscom plans to take complete ownership of Italian subsidiary Fastweb, which is caught up in a tax fraud and money laundering investigation.

This content was published on September 8, 2010 - 13:22

Wednesday’s announcement by the Swiss telecommunications firm said it will buy all the outstanding shares in Fastweb – 17.9 per cent.

Swisscom will pay €18 (SFr23.03) per share - a premium of 34.6 per cent on Tuesday’s closing price. The deal will cost it €256 million.

Once it has acquired all the shares, it will delist the company from the Milan Stock Exchange.

Swisscom explained it was taking the action because of Fastweb’s “good growth potential” and “promising prospects”.

The takeover will give Swisscom “greater strategic and operational
flexibility," the statement said.

Swisscom paid €3.1 billion for an initial 82.1 per cent stake in Fastweb, Italy's second-largest telecoms company, in 2007.

Earlier this year Italian prosecutors started investigating Fastweb founder, Silvio Scaglia, and other former employees, on suspicion of involvement in a tax scam with mafia links involving fictitious companies.

Analysts say the takeover is opportune, since the Fastweb shares are currently cheaper for Swisscom to acquire. On the one hand, they have been hit by the legal scandal, and on the other the euro, in which they are quoted, has reached a new low against the franc.

Fastnet shares rose sharply on opening in Milan, while Swisscom fell back slightly in Zurich.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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