Italians near satellite deal

Deal underway to bring Internet and TV services

MILAN — A new company started by former Telecom Italia CEO Franco Bernabe is close to sealing an accord with Italy’s state-owned defense and engineering company Finmeccanica to offer Internet and TV services via satellite, Il Sole 24 Ore re-ported Monday.

The new service, which Bernabe’s company Franco Bernabe & C. is developing with Finmeccanica aerospace unit Alenia, would compete with Italy’s two existing satellite TV operators, Canal Plus subsid Telepiu and Stream, a unit of Telecom Italia and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Bernabe, who was Telecom Italia’s CEO until Olivetti bought the former telephone monopoly last year, said his company will consider seeking a stock market listing, the newspaper reported. The operation is backed by Italian merchant bank IMI and the European investment fund run by former Fininvest CEO Aldo Livolsi.

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