Telecom Italia’s TV unit attracts suitors

News Corp., Hutchison Whampoa may bid

ROME — Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa have surfaced as potential bidders for Telecom Italia Media’s TV unit, Italy’s third terrestrial TV player, comprising generalist stations LA7 and MTV Italy.

Meanwhile, Mediaset on Tuesday said it would not bid, after Telecom Italia Media shares rose more than 13% on the Milan bourse Monday on reports of interest from the Silvio Berlusconi-controlled TV unit and other international players.

Murdoch satcaster Sky Italia is also down playing its interest, saying it examined Telecom Italia Media’s “information memorandum” to gain more information about a competitor. Besides being Italy’s top pay TV player, Sky also operates free-to-air channel Cielo.

Hutchison Whampoa, owner of cellphone operator 3 Italia, is interested in Telecom Italia Media’s two assets — its TV channels and its extensive digital bandwidth, being sold separately — which would boost its telephone transmission capacity, according to Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

Citicorp and Italo Merchant bank Mediobanca, which are handling the sale, have set Sept. 24 as the deadline for the first non-binding offers.

Other potential bidders for the TV stations include Discovery Channel and smaller Italian media group Cairo Communications, which handles Telecom Italia Media’s advertising sales.

LA7 has a 4% average share of Italy’s national audience.

The TV unit has a market value of about €240 million ($315 million) and net debt of $261 million.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety

Loading