U.S. Ambassador Tells Italy: Give Us Your Telecom, Now!
<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>U.S. Ambassador Tells Italy: Give Us Your Telecom, Now!</h1><p>April 18, 2007 (EIRNS)--Ronald Spogli, ambassador to Italy and founder of the private equity fund Freeman Spogli & C., attacked the Italian "long tradition of public intervention in the economy" after the announcement April 17 that AT&T was dropping out of the race to buy Telecom Italy. AT&T reacted to rumors that the Italian government might prevent a foreign takeover of Telecom Italia, by re-nationalizing the network and selling concessions for services only. According to Goldman Sachs, as reported in <em>Financial Times Deutschland</em> , the second foreign bidder for Telecom Italia, Carlos Slim's America Movil, is also expected to drop out of the race.</p><p>Spogli's remarks were done in Rome during the presentation of the Fullbright-Best stipends for Italian students. In the next years, Spogli said, "it will be very important for the Italians to choose whether this is the system they want for the future".</p><p>Spogli's remarks are his second major interference in domestic affairs. In February, the ambassador publically warned the Italian Parliament not to vote for a withdrawal of Italian troops in Afghanistan.</p><p>Infrastructure minister Antonio Di Pietro, in a talk show in national television Raitre, has accused the remaining bidder, Carlos Slim's Telecom Movil, of being "feudalists" who aim only at achieving personal profits and not in investing in infrastructure.</p></div></body>