KKR Invites Saudi Fund to Join Telecom Italia Bid

    • KKR has invited the Public Investment Fund to join its bid for Telecom Italia.
    • The telecommunications company holds Serie A rights.

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A complicated deal that could see Italy’s largest telecom company change hands added a new wrinkle with an offer to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

KKR & Co. has invited the Public Investment Fund to join its proposed acquisition of Telecom Italia, according to Bloomberg. The deal still needs to be approved by Italian regulators.

Telecom Italia paired with DAZN in July 2021 to gain domestic rights to Serie A in a three-year, $1.1 billion deal. Reports surfaced in November that the company is looking to renegotiate the deal.

  • KKR made its initial takeover bid in November, triggering a 38% increase in Telecom Italia’s stock.
  • The Turin-based company has kept most of those gains and had a market capitalization of around $10.9 billion as of Tuesday.
  • KKR has reached out to other sovereign wealth funds to help finance the bid, per Bloomberg.

PIF’s Recent Moves

The PIF has had a growing presence in sports and gaming. It’s reportedly close to acquiring Serie A’s Inter Milan for $1 billion and bought the Premier League’s Newcastle for $409 million in October 2021 after 18 months of clearing regulatory hurdles.

The deal contributed to the resignation of Premier League chair Gary Hoffman.

The fund, with over $430 billion in assets, also has heavy investments in gaming, with $2.9 billion invested in Activision Blizzard, $2 billion in Electronic Arts, and $869 million in Take-Two Interactive as of Sept. 30, 2021.