Telecom wants out of Stream

If News Corp. won't buy others will be courted

MILAN — Telecom Italia is reportedly interested in selling all or part of its 50% stake in Stream to News Corp., which already owns the other 50% and exercises management control over the Italian pay TV network.

Telecom Italia, which sold stakes in unprofitable Stream to News Corp. and other investors last year, has concluded that the pay TV business is not compatible with its other activities and represents an unnecessary drain on resources.

A person familiar with News Corp. said, however, that it is not currently interested in raising its ownership of Stream — and its share of the pay TV company’s losses.

No transaction is imminent, people close to Telecom Italia said; if no agreement is reached with News Corp., the stake might be offered to other investors.

Stream, which has 520,000 subscribers, has an estimated value of about $475 million.

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