Vodafone has become the fourth company to make a bid to acquire the Italian fibre network provider Metroweb, according to multiple reports. The UK-based operator has joined with Italy's Wind Telecommunications and the buyout firm Clessidra to make an opening joint offer thought to be between €430 million and €450 million.
Metroweb, which is owned by private equity firm Sterling Capital, has already received firm bids from three other organisations. These include bids lead by AXA Private Equity, the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo and Antin Infrastructure Partners. Metroweb owns and manages the largest fibre networks covering Milan and the Lombardy region that consist of over 2,200km of infrastructure and 5,100km of cable. It also controls around another 1,000km of long distance cables.
Insiders told Reuters last month that those favored to close the Metroweb deal were either Italian or French investors, with the likelihood of a short-list of two potential buyers being drawn up within the next few weeks.
"The four offers are now being evaluated and the next step is likely to be the choice of a couple of frontrunners," one source close to the deal told Dow Jones Newswires. "But there's no set timeline yet."
According to Bloomberg, Metroweb had revenues of over €50 million last year, but reported EBITDA of €42 million.
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