TLC: Italian ragged capitalism (not) footing the bill.

TLC: Italian ragged capitalism (not) footing the bill.

While India has stopped paying tax refunds because it has no money (India is in default, in short, only that Modi does not admit it by saying that it is "divine will"), in Italy there is a much talk of the TLC game, unique network and funny cocks. Which is not really the TLC game, but the story of a capitalism of beggars, of scoundrels who play capitalists without having money, so in the end the citizen always pays, either as a state or as a consumer.

To understand the history of the "single network" well, it is necessary to understand how an economic class of capitalists without money could be born and proliferate. First of all, it is necessary to understand that the Italian capitalist, compared to the foreign one, simply has no capital .

But then, you will say, why are there companies on the stock market that are worth tens of billions? Here we enter the history of a country where knowledge and favors can take the place of money.

So, take a company worth ten billion euros. But no Italian capitalist has ten billion cash to buy it. So how does an Italian capitalist buy this company and keep it for himself, when there are foreign funds that use ten billion as a cat litter?

It must be remembered that actions are not all the same. Some shares, under certain conditions, may allow you to join the Board of Directors (in short, to make decisions and elect the CEO), while other shares (for example those you buy at the bank) do not allow you to vote on the Board.

If you have enough friends among the banks, you can convince them to take 94% of the shares and place them in a few baskets for many consumers. Since savers / consumers do not have a vote in the Board of Directors, all that remains to "climb" if you want to become the bosses of the company and lead you (and take the profits) is 6%.

But six percent of ten billion is obviously much smaller, it is "only" 600,000,000 euros. And here is that the beggar capitalist can, with a few pennies (in the world of finance they are a few pennies), buy a huge company. And for just six hundred million euros, you can fully own a ten-billion-dollar company.

This technique of stock “emptying” was practiced in many companies, with different percentages, when some of the salons of finance began to desire the large (former state) companies that had ended up on the market.

You will say: but if a foreigner came and offered double the price, it would not be easy for him to own more than that 6%. Well no.

To carry out such an operation the foreigner should:

  • go through the cross-checks of Consob, GdF, and so on and so forth.
  • ad hoc legislation would be made immediately to stop it, like Gasparri in the case of Mediaset.
  • Italian banks are mixed with the good salons, and have tied the shares in the portfolios of Italians. And the ones they have they don't sell to you because they're friends with the salons.

since he is a foreigner, he does not have all these friends ready to help him, and then the companies of the ragged capitalists are safe.

In short, if you want to be capitalists in Italy, you don't really need "capital". Only fools need it. The clever ones instead replace capital with "friends".

An obvious example is another way of buying a company. Create a fund. The fund receives guarantees from the friendly banks, which testify to its "financial strength", especially if the examiner is a friend. With money that you do NOT own, that is, in debt, you scale the company, offering existing friendly shareholders a lot of money. Friends thank you and leave the company. At that point you take the fund, which is in debt , you fund it with the company you bought, and poof: the company is yours, even if a company that was healthy before is now indebted by an equal amount at its own value .

This operation, which (mutatis mutandis) was carried out with Telecom Italia, is not feasible for anyone, mind you. To do it, it is necessary that:

  • banker friends support you with guarantees.
  • friends in Consob and in the GdF look elsewhere and decide that your fund is eligible for the takeover.
  • the other shareholders are friends, and in exchange for a handful of money they ignore it and give you the company.
  • friendly banks do not tell savers that the shares of the company with perfect accounts have become shares of a company that is up to their necks in debt.
  • friendly unions, who ask for an "industrial plan" every time it rains, don't say anything to the workers.

Ultimately, that is, Italian capitalism is not made up of people who have capital, but of people who HAVE MANY FRIENDS. The last bum in the country, with the same friends, could get too rich starting from zero euros.

If anyone is thinking of a guy who married Anna Falchi, it's not my fault. You are evil.

What happens now? It happens that it is now clear that Europe is here to stay, and therefore the maneuvers to build champions of continental dimension begin. And this happens in the TLC sector, which so far (except for Vodafone and Telefonica) does not see many giants in Europe. Even the TV sector does not see many big players, indeed it sees none.

And now there is the problem: the Italian banks are in trouble, and are struggling to keep the shares they have spread on the “ox park” in the face of tempting offers. Foreign capitalists have A LOT of money: only the Norwegian pension fund, for example, has more LIQUIDS than the entire capitalization of the Milan stock exchange.

So Italian companies find themselves with their asses uncovered: they are scalable, very scalable, buyable, very marketable. And since out of the country the friendship between dude and caio "is not money", now they are in trouble. On the one hand it is very difficult to recapitalize a company that is still burdened by the monstrous debt of its "purchase", because no one is fooled, and secondly the EU has arrived, and according to the banks they have a great desire for cash.

Let's take the Vivendi-Mediaset example first. Vivendi sees German and Dutch capital move in the TV market, and decides to try to build its big TV on a European scale, in short, it wants to become a European comcast (comcast is the owner of Sky, and others), and starts buying shares by Mediaset. It offers more to shareholders, and since no bank wants to keep the card when it can have the money, it eventually raises a lot of shares on the market?

What is the reaction of Silvio beggar Berlusconi? Rather than take some liquids (which he doesn't have) and go hunting for shares to overcome Vivendi, he decides to take advantage of his friends. He appeals to the Gasparri Law (made when Silvio was in power) and decides that even though Vivendi owns many shares, being a foreigner, his vote in the Board of Directors is worth less.

The network of friendships works, and for a couple of years Silvio keeps both Vivendi's money and the company. But Vivendi also does not stand still, appeals to the EU court, which has just overturned that sentence. Result: Silvio could become a minority shareholder.

But Vivendi does not stop there: since it knows that TV and TLC have merged all over the world (Italy is still one of the few countries where TV does not reach you via the internet: in the rest of Europe the "BIG 3" of each telco are Voice, Internet and TV), Vivendi is also trying to set foot in Telecom Italia. And as if that weren't enough, Deutsche Telekom, which already has partnerships in the UK (British Telecom) and other countries, also tries (silently).

Since there are a lot of people willing to give away the litter of a indebted company in exchange for cash, and the good beggars salons have no money to throw on the plate to counter the move, they still turn to the only capital they have. : friends.

And they say: Telecom has debts, but it also has an immense capital, made up of the network. If we break up the network and give it to CDP, Vivendi (but also DT) will stop beating the fuck up, because Vivendi really cares about the network, and CDP is not scalable (it belongs to the state).

In short, Italian ragged capitalism is entrenching itself in defense. Does this move to unbundle the network have any chance of working? No, because hardly any Italian competitor does not like it, Vivendi does not like it, many European companies that were interested do not like it, and that will surely bury the government of appeals in the EU, which will dismantle the defensive system exactly as they did with Gasparri in the case of Mediaset.

Where is the Italian evaluation error?

The error of assessment is to think that CDP is too big a beast to be attacked: what ends there, they think, never comes out because that is the state .

Unfortunately, when the state has a public debt of 156% of GDP, such a castle has cottage cheese walls.

And when CDP is fat enough prey, the real capitalists, the ones with the money, will target it, and ugly. Because if we exclude his state ownership, the rest of the board is, guess what, cash-less beggars.

That's all. They are just buying time.

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