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Telecom Italia rebel investor calls for Brazil partnership: sources

A Telecom Italia antenna booster is seen in northern Rome November 12, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
A Telecom Italia antenna booster is seen in northern Rome November 12, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia rebel investor Marco Fossati told an analyst meeting that a partnership with Vivendi's GVT subsidiary in Brazil would help the Italian phone group relaunch its business, two participants at the meeting said on Wednesday.

The Italian businessman flew to London on Wednesday to outline his plans for the heavily indebted company following his request last month to call a shareholder meeting to decide on an overhaul of the group's board.

"A lot of his turnaround plan is about partnering for growth. The example he brought up was obviously GVT in Brazil," one of the analysts told Reuters.

"He also said there were opportunities for Telecom Italia to partner with other wireless carriers around the globe".

Fossati also called for Telecom Italia to raise funds through the issue of a convertible bond and the sale of real estate and of its Italian mobile towers business, said the participants, who asked not to be named.

Fossati, whose holding Findim owns 5 percent of Telecom Italia but is not part of the Telco group that controls the Italian company's board, could not be reached for comment.

His proposal for a partnership in Brazil is likely to clash with plans by Spanish company Telefonica , which has agreed to gradually take over Telco and is instead eyeing a sale of Telecom Italia's Brazil unit TIM in 2014.

Telecom Italia's board is due to meet on Thursday to approve a new three-year business plan, which could include a capital increase of up to 2 billion euros, asset sales and a dividend cut, sources close to the matter said.

The board is expected to call a shareholders meeting to decide on Fossati's request for a board overhaul.

(Reporting by Danilo Masoni)

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