(Reuters) - Italy’s Telecom Italia SpA (TLIT.MI) is considering merging its OpenAccess business unit that leases its landline network to rivals with its wholesale business to avoid antitrust charges of as much as 4 billion euros ($4.35 billion), Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
The reorganization plan will be reviewed by the board on Thursday, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. (bloom.bg/1KOMVTO)
Under the plan, Telecom Italia would have to buy wholesale capacity from OpenAccess, just as its competitors do, according to the Bloomberg report.
The Milan-based company has made provisions in its second-quarter earnings for antitrust charges, Bloomberg said.
After a complaint by Telecom Italia's rivals, including Vodafone (VOD.L) and FastWeb [SCMNSF.UL], Italy's antitrust authority said the company had hindered access to the country's fixed-line telephone network from 2009 to 2011. (reut.rs/1KOTkhT)
According to the Bloomberg report, Vodafone is seeking more than 1 billion euros in damages from Telecom Italia, claiming it is abusing its dominant position. Other claimants include Fastweb, which is seeking 1.7 billion euros. In total, claims against Telecom Italia amount to about 4 billion euros, according to the country’s competition authority
Vodafone declined to comment.
FastWeb and Italy’s antitrust authority could not be immediately reached for comment outside regular business hours.
Reporting by Ankush Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler