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Somewhat overshadowed by the listing of France Telecom, the privatization of Telecom Italia has begun with government selling the 1.4 billion shares, 44.7% of total stock, it owns. The issue is expected to be over-subscribed around 15 times. The final share price will be announced on October 25. Telecom Italia is the world’s fifth-largest telecommunications operator in terms of fixed lines installed. The group, through its majority stake in Telecom Italia Mobile, is also the largest cellular phone operator in Europe. The first part of the sell-off was announced last month when the treasury placed 9.02% of its 44.7 percent stake in the hands of a group of 14 investors who will take control once the group passes from the public sector.

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