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Telecom Italia weighs sale of Brazil wireless unit- source

MILAN, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia is considering a sale of its 67 percent stake in Brazilian mobile carrier Tim Participacoes in a bid to reduce its heavy debt, said a person familiar with the matter on Wednesday.

The debt-laden Italian operator, which was downgraded to junk on Tuesday by Moody's credit rating agency, aims to garner at least 9 billion euros from the sale, the person said.

The sale is one option being weighed by Telecom Italia's new Chief Executive Marco Patuano, who is expected to present his strategy to the board on November 7. Analysts say Patuano must find a way to cut debt and turn around the faltering domestic mobile business.

No banks have yet been mandated on the potential deal, said several sources involved in the sector.

Telefonica, which is Telecom Italia's biggest shareholder, is expected to back a sale of the Brazilian unit, said the sources. Telefonica is also present in the Brazil's mobile market, along with Mexico's America Movil, so would potentially benefit from the move, analysts say.

A Telefonica spokesman declined to comment.

Telecom Italia shares closed up 6.2 percent to 0.66 euros.

Telecom Italia could not immediately be reached for comment.