RAI plans new media unit spinoff, market listing

B'caster also to go public

MILAN — Italy’s pubcaster RAI is planning to spin off all its new-media activities into a new company and list them on the stock market, daily paper Sole 24 Ore reported Tuesday.

The new company is expected to include RAIsat (the network’s satellite broadcasting unit that last year inked an alliance with Canal Plus’ Italian pay-TV platform Telepiu to supply thematic channels), its newly established ‘Net unit RAInet, and UMTS, which operates in the telephone industry and will probably bid for a license for third generation telephone transmission later this year.

The creation of an stand-alone new media RAI company is part of a wider project aimed at partially privatizing the network. RAI is currently 100% controlled by state-owned industrial holding company IRI and is expected to pass under the direct control of Italy’s Ministry of Treasury in June.

Earlier this month, RAI created a company called RAI Way, which controls the transmission network and TV technical infrastructures, that has 800 employees and a turnover of $150 million per year.

RAI Way, which is Italy’s largest broadcasting company and one of the largest in Europe, is also expected to go public.

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