RAI public offer proposed

Goal: broaden net's shareholder base

MILAN — Enzo Cheli, president of Italy’s new federal media authority, has proposed privatizing national pubcaster RAI with a public offering of shares in order to broaden the net’s shareholder base.

“RAI must be privatized sooner or later. In a public referendum held in 1995, the majority of Italian voters decided that Italian state had to sell part of RAI capital to private investors and we must respect their decision,” Cheli said. “But we definitely must avoid having a small number of strong investors control the network.”

Cheli did not offer specifics as to when or how RAI privatization should take place.

Vincenzo Vita, vice minister for telecommunications, said that it is not “an imminent target” in the government’s agenda.

Since its founding in 1954, RAI has always been dominated by political parties, which have appointed or removed the network’s executives more for political reasons than for business related causes. Nevertheless, RAI has always been Italy’s leading network. Its three channels had a 47.5% share in March.

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