Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is considering to sell ItaliaOnline SpA, Italy’s largest Internet services group, which is controlled by his holding Orascom Investment Holding, as part of an effort to unlock value from investment in the technology industry.
The news come nearly a month after Orascom Investment Holding, an Egypt-based investment holding, agreed to purchase the remaining 27.5 percent of ItaliaOnline through its special purpose vehicle, Libero Acquisition. The agreement came about as a result of a strategy disagreement with minority investors.
According to sources familiar with the planned divestment, the Sawiris-led group is considering selling a minority stake or even a controlling stake in the leading Internet services group.
In accordance with Orascom Investment Holding’s strategic review process, the planned divestment will see the holding exit its investment in ItaliaOnline for about €400 million ($401 million), with potential buyers such as the Netherlands-based Azerion Group expressing an interest in purchasing a stake in the company.
Orascom Investment Holding, which traces its roots back to Orascom Telecom, has operated as a holding company with investments primarily in the telecom, media, and technology fields across core strategic markets in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa since its inception in 2011.
Under the leadership of Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire who holds a strategic role in the group, Orascom Investment Holding maintains the legacy of the region’s most successful, entrepreneurial, and pioneering telecoms operator.
Nearly six months ago, the Egypt-based investment holding completed the sale of its stake in the Pakistan-based Internet services provider Trans World Associates in a deal valued at EGP550 million ($35 million), and executed as part of the investment holding’s plan to create shared value not only for shareholders but also for stakeholders and other related entities.
The company’s management revealed that it is looking into various opportunities to invest sale proceeds in order to maximize profits and increase shareholder value in accordance with its investment strategy.