The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookiesbefore using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Olivetti: The sack of Telecom Italia

Every chief executive in Europe should heed the lessons of Telecom Italia's defeat. No company is beyond attack and the art of how to fight a hostile raider must be learned, or relearned, urgently. Olivetti's was a daring stroke, inspired by Roberto Colaninno's ambition and by a group of advisers each believing their improbable target was attainable. But its assault was as blunt and simple as a battering ram.

Above all, this was a battle lost by Franco Bernabè, the conscientious industrialist. His bankers wanted all-out war against Olivetti. Bernabè tells Euromoney exclusively why he held them back. He hoped a cogent industrial plan for tomorrow would carry more weight than windfall profits today for investors and banks. He tried to run the giant telecom firm as usual, recoiling from any measure he wouldn't have taken in the ordinary course of events. He didn't understand that takeover battles are extraordinary episodes - bare-knuckle fights where victory is the imperative.

In reconstructing the most important takeover contest of the decade, Euromoney reveals details for the first time of how the scheme was hatched. It appeared an impossibly audacious bid, but many separate groups independently had hit on the idea last year. Colaninno dreamed of leaping beyond Olivetti's limits; Lehman proposed a subtle grasping of control; Mediobanca a full-scale assault; DLJ was working on an LBO and then, crucially, Chase said it was financeable.

It is a story of tense moments previously untold: of how the crucial financing came to the brink of collapse; how Mediobanca, true to form, was more deeply involved than the other banks knew; of the fearsome defences proposed by CSFB and JP Morgan to which Bernabè said no.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree