Move would extend reach in digital terrestrial field

ROME — Mediaset is negotiating to merge its broadcasting infrastructure with Italo telco towers operator Digital Multimedia Technologies in a deal that would greatly expand the reach of the top commercial broadcaster in the growing digital terrestrial field.

The merger, expected to be finalized by June, would establish a major private broadcasting and mobile phone towers operator and a strong rival to pubcaster RAI’s RAI Way digital transmissions unit.

Timing for the new player, in which Mediaset would have a 60% stake, would be perfect, coming just ahead of a proliferation of DTT channels expected this year following a planned government sell-off of DTT bandwidth.

Mediaset, controlled by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, said the merger would “create a leading operator in the transmissions infrastructure field” and also create important synergies.

Analysts say the deal would increase Mediaset’s capability to beam its own digital channels and also allow them to rent out excess frequencies to other broadcasters.

The merger with DMT, which has about a 1,500 towers, would create a telco infrastructure giant with nearly 3,000 towers, and major competitor for RAI Way, now Italy’s top dog in this field, with a 42% market share.

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