Since January it has lost around 100 billion in capitalization due to Covid19, but it is still a 530 billion euro ‘asset’, around 30% of Italian GDP. This is why investment banks in Italy have been moving on the Milan stock exchange for several months, preparing plans and price assessments. Ever since, that is, it was clear that the Lse-Refinitiv maxi-operation, worth 27 billion euros, would have had an impact on Piazza Affari and Mts. Both are controlled by the London Stock Exchange and are among the assets considered to be alienable to defuse any Antitrust problems.
Since yesterday, the “exploratory discussions” of the LSE are official, which would wait for non-binding offers already in September-October, according to Il Sole 24 Ore. Certainly Euronext will come forward, the group that controls several European financial centers – Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, to name a few – and that already at the beginning of the year had come out of the closet showing interest in Milan in London.
After a few months and having listened to the investment banks, the government would have a clear idea of the stakes, especially on the MTS front, the wholesale market for government bonds, fundamental for the issuance of treasury bonds. According to rumors, the Italian Stock Exchange together with Mts could be worth between three and four billion euros, and is among the companies considered strategic by the Executive, in the list of those to be protected with the Golden Power discipline.
For this reason, from the League to the 5 Star Movement, voices of warning have already risen to raise awareness of the Government to prepare an offer or valid alternatives to a transfer that passes over the head of the country.
The options are two: that the State intervenes directly, with the MEF, a highly unlikely hypothesis, or that a consortium of banks and financial institutions is formed, headed by a public entity such as the CDP or the Strategic Fund, which presents an offer.
The hypothesis would give Italy negotiating strength and could allow in the future a sale of the stock exchange, with more favorable conditions, to the large international groups that control the price lists. Or a hypo, a listing on the same stock exchange. For now, sources close to the Cashier point out, there is nothing on the table. A resolution in this regard was filed by the 5 Star Movement in the Finance Commission in the Chamber. The aim would be to involve Cdp and ensure that there are “sufficient guarantees to protect the national interest from the perspective of Borsa Italiana”. The times, after negotiations started, are very tight and today they are all more aware of it.
(by Vittoria Vimercati)