Sovereign wealth funds controlled by the United Arab Emirates, based on reports from FT – could consider acquiring a stake in Italian listed telecommunications group Telecom Italia (TI), UAE Economy Minister Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri said.
During the 6th EuroMediterraneo conference in Milan, Al Masouri said that UAE funds could consider acquiring a stake in Telecom Italia after careful study, but noted that no talks have been held regarding a stake purchase.
Al Mansouri said this after a closed door meeting between Al Mansouri, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, Telecom Italia chairman Gabriele Galateri di Genola and Telecom Italia chief executive Franco Bernabe.
A UAE government source confirmed that there have been confidential contacts between UAE connected funds and a possible purchase of a TI stake, while a source at the Italian Foreign Ministry said that the Italian government would not be opposed to a UAE connected SWF taking a large minority stake in Telecom Italia.
Sovereign wealth funds have gained world-wide exposure lately. According to Morgan Stanley, sapped by the subprime crisis, rich-world financial-services groups have been administered almost $70 billion-worth of infusions from the savings of the developing world in the past ten months. Wealth funds have invested in several Wall Street financial firms including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch.