Carlyle appoints Italy MD

The global private equity firm has appointed a telecoms specialist as the new head of its Italian buyout activities.

Carlyle Group, the Washington DC-headquartered global buyout firm, has announced the appointment of Marco De Benedetti as managing director and head of its Italian buyout team, based in Milan.
At Carlyle, De Benedetti will focus on buyout opportunities in Italy, as well as joining the European senior buyout team and the investment committee of Carlyle Europe Partners II, a €1.8 billion ($2.12 billion) fund. He will also become a member of the global telecom and media group. 

De Benedetti: heading up Carlyle’s Italian buyout activities

De Benedetti’s background is predominantly in the Italian telecoms sector. Since 1999, he has been CEO of Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) and, prior to that, was chairman of Infostrada, an Italian alternative fixed-line carrier for voice services and internet access. Before that, he was CEO of Olivetti Telemedia, the telecommunications and multimedia business of Olivetti.
De Benedetti also worked for Wasserstein, Perella & Co in New York in its mergers and acquisitions team between 1987 and 1989.
Jean-Pierre Millet, managing director and head of the European buyout fund, said in a statement: “[De Benedetti’s] operational experience, deep telecom expertise as well as his M&A experience make him an excellent choice to lead our operations in Italy.”
The European buyout team is composed of 34 investment professionals based in Paris, London, Munich, Milan and Barcelona. The Milan office was opened in March 1999 and is currently staffed by 15 personnel.
Carlyle currently has one unrealised Italian investment in its portfolio: Avio, a manufacturer of aero engines and space propulsion systems, in which Carlyle holds a 70 percent stake following the company’s €1.6 billion acquisition from Fiat Group in September 2003.
The firm’s other Italian investments have now been realised: in October 2004, Carlyle sold its 50 percent stake in Riello, a domestic heating business, which it acquired in 2000; and in December 2004, the firm sold Tecnoforge, a provider of pipe fittings to the oil and gas industries, which it acquired in 1999.
Carlyle’s recent deals in the telecom sector include the May 2004 acquisition of Verizon Hawaii from Verizon Communications for $1.65 billion (€1.39 billion); the August 2004 acquisition of PanAmSat, the satellite division of DirectTV Group alongside Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Providence Equity Partners for $2.6 billion; and the take-private of cable television provider Insight Communications for $710 million in July 2005.

According to a spokesperson for Carlyle, around 30 percent of the firm’s global investments are in the telecom and media sector.