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De Agostini, Planeta to bow joint venture in fall

MADRID — The long-discussed production-distribution alliance between Italy’s publishing and video distrib giant De Agostini and Spanish media company Planeta is very close to reality — and the estimated joint budget for the venture is $500 million.

The Agostini-Planeta partnership will be presented to the public in early fall. Planeta alone has just made profits of more than $300 million by selling off its 10% in Spanish broadcaster Tele 5.

The new combo will create traditional and interactive content for multiplatform distribution. Its immediate markets will be Italy and Spain and, beyond that, Europe and Latin America.

Agostini and Planeta are courting a telco to join the alliance. The leading candidate is Italian directory and Internet service provider Seat Pagine Gialle.

The venture will provide a new challenge for Maurizio Carlotti, the architect of the project, who is expected to head it up. Carlotti is the former CEO of Silvio Berlusconi’s Italian TV company Mediaset and managing director of Tele 5.

Planeta and Agostini already have a long-term partnership in publishing, interactive product and video retail. Apart from spinning off such content, Carlotti already has put out a call for ideas for new projects.

Planeta also has ready distribution outlets for content, provided by its 15% stake in Spanish DTT startup Quiero.

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