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Titans move on Italian telco

Allies reportedly want to block acquisition of TeleMonteCarlo

MILAN — Silvio Berlusconi’s TV group Mediaset, German media magnate Leo Kirch and News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch together have bought up to 6% of Olivetti, the majority holder of Italy’s telco giant Telecom Italia, according to press reports in an Italian finance magazine.

The allies are said to want to block Seat Pagine Gialle’s planned acquisition of TV group TeleMonteCarlo. Olivetti controls Telecom Italia, which controls Seat PG.

Mediaset confirmed Monday that the group “bought a stake smaller than 2% in one listed telco company.” Last week, Mediaset president Fedele Confalonieri said the company was either Olivetti or Telecom.

Kirch Group spokesman Hartmut Schults said he could not confirm or deny the rumors about a joint acquisition of a stake in Telecom. However, market sources said the operation could have been made independently by each media group, but each could not acquire more than 2% in Telecom without informing market authorities.

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