The Latest Italian Job

1:30 PM -- OK, pick a Tier 1 carrier, any Tier 1 carrier. Chosen one? Well, the chances are that the name you chose has been linked to an investment in Telecom Italia (TIM) during the past few days.

What we do know is that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and América Móvil S.A. de C.V. are making a joint bid to buy into the holding company that controls the Italian incumbent. (See AT&T Closes In on Telecom Italia Stake.)

Now, though, if you read the Italian and international business press, a whole host of other carriers could be teaming up with Italian bankers to fend off the transatlantic raid.

Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Orange (NYSE: FTE) both get a mention as interested parties, as does Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), which has actually been interested in such an investment for some time.

Analysts at Dresdner Kleinwort pass off the DT and FT mentions as little more than press speculation, but believe an alliance of Italian banks and Telefónica could be "the only likely alternative bidder."

And if the Spanish and Italian giants end up collaborating, what would that mean for the likes of Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, and even BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)? The mind boggles...

— Ray Le Maistre, Political Editor, Light Reading

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