The Italian telecommunications equipment maker Italtel today signed an agreement with American Telephone & Telegraph Co. for a far-reaching partnership in manufacturing and sales of equipment.
Under the accord, AT&T; will acquire 20% of Italtel. In exchange, Italtel's parent, the Italian state holding company STET, will take a 20% share of AT&T-Network; Systems International (ATT-NSI), a joint venture between AT&T; and Philips NV of the Netherlands.
In addition, AT&T; has agreed to make a direct investment of almost $150 million in Italtel, said an official involved in the deal who requested anonymity.
The accord, which was widely expected, was an important victory for AT&T.; It allows the U.S. giant access to the ripe Italian telecommunications market, which is dominated by Italtel, and improves AT&T;'s position for the post-1992 unified European market.