Telecom Italia CEO says 'no' to hostile Telefonica bid

The CEO of Italy's biggest phone group Telecom Italia ruled out a possible hostile bid from Spain's Telefonica in an interview published in an Italian newspaper, a Reuters report said.

Telefonica is a key shareholders in Italy's former telecoms monopoly, with a 10% indirect stake.

With Telecom Italia's management under pressure over strategy due to falling stock prices, an Italian investor with a 4.45% stake has suggested Telefonica could take over the phone group.

'I rule out any hostile deals,' CEO Franco Bernabe told Italian daily La Stampa.

'So much so because a bid on a company like Telecom Italia can't take place if the country does not agree. And a country has several ways to block it.'

Bernabe said Telecom Italia could increase its cooperation with the Spanish rival.

'It is worth exploring ambitious paths with them,' he said.

Asked about a new strategic plan after criticism from shareholders, Bernabe said the matter would be up for discussion 'at the end of the year.'

A source close to the company told Reuters last month changes to the industrial plan could be discussed at a board meeting on August 8 and presented as early as September.