August 5, 2015 / 1:40 PM / 3 years ago

Telecom Italia eyes settlement to stop four billion euro antitrust claims: sources

MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia is considering settling separate antitrust disputes with rivals to stop damage claims for around 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion), two sources close to the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

A woman speaks on a mobile phone next to an attendant at a Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) store in downtown Rio de Janeiro August 20, 2014.

Mobile phone giant Vodafone sued the former Italian phone monopoly two years ago, alleging Telecom Italia had abused its dominant position in its home market and is seeking over 1 billion euros in damages.

Other telecoms firms have also sued Telecom Italia on competition grounds in recent years. Swisscom’s Italian broadband unit Fastweb is seeking damages of 1.74 billion euros, Internet firm Tiscali is seeking 285 million, while small telecoms firms Eutelia, Voiceplus and Teleunit are demanding a combined sum of nearly 1.1 billion.

A third source with knowledge of the matter said a deal in at least one of those cases could be within reach.

A settlement, if reached, would allow the parties to bypass lengthy judicial proceedings.

Telecom Italia is expected to set aside at least 300 million euros to cover risks connected to the lawsuits when it approves its results this week.

In 2013, Italy’s competition authority fined Telecom Italia about 104 million euros for abusing its dominant market position as owner and manager of the country’s largest fixed-line phone network. The fine was upheld by Italy’s top court in May.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni and Stefano Rebaudo; Editing by Susan Fenton

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