You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Italy’s Fastweb clicks with Swisscom

Mediaset bid fails to emerge

The board of Italy’s leading IPTV provider, Fastweb, accepted a $62-per-share takeover offer from Swisscom on Tuesday, ending speculation that Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset intended to make a counteroffer and enter Italy’s growing broadband TV market.

Mediaset CEO Giuliano Adreani ruled out a rival bid for Fastweb earlier this month, but that has not stopped the Italian press from reporting that the country’s largest commercial broadcaster was still mulling a telco investment — either for Fastweb or a stake in Telecom Italia’s holding company Olimpia.

Mediaset wants to diversify its business to recoup more subscription revenues as the TV ad market begins to slump and remains committed to expansion this year.

During an analyst call earlier this month, the company reiterated its strong interest in “Big Brother” creator Endemol. Days later, it signed a confidentiality agreement with Endemol owner Telefonica — the clearest sign yet that it will be bidding for the reality TV producer.

Meanwhile, the Swisscom offer values Fastweb at $4.9 billion and makes founder Silvio Scaglia Italy’s newest billionaire media mogul.

Scaglia’s new venture, Babel Networks, will launch free TV and video-on-demand service Babelgum in the coming weeks. It will be viewable over the Internet.

While Europe’s IPTV market continues to grow, there is still little original content for the IPTV service providers. Scaglia’s plan with Babelgum is to broadcast niche digital programming, primarily from independent producers, and allow users to sort it into their own channels.

Babelgum’s primary competitor is Joost, a startup from Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Laverne Cox Charlie's Angels

    How Laverne Cox Landed a Cameo in Elizabeth Banks' 'Charlie’s Angels'

    Laverne Cox officially earned her wings, scoring a role in Sony’s “Charlie’s Angels.” But she revealed her cameo almost didn’t happen. When the Emmy-nominee heard that Elizabeth Banks was directing the film, the longtime fan of the franchise (and of Banks herself) reached out about being part of the project. Cox had previously worked with [...]

  • Lena Waithe'The Inheritance' Broadway play opening,

    Lena Waithe, Anderson Cooper Attend Broadway Opening of 'The Inheritance'

    “The Inheritance” pulls viewers in many directions — toward pain and hope, trauma and healing. It’s what brought stars like Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Lena Waithe to Broadway on Sunday — a chance to heal, to remember and grieve. Also in attendance for the premiere at the Barrymore Theater [...]

  • Cybill ShepherdTrevorLIVE, Show, The Beverly Hilton,

    'The L Word' Co-Stars Cybill Shepherd and Jane Lynch Reunite at TrevorLive

    Fans of Showtime’s “The L Word” will be happy to hear that Cybill Shepherd eagerly reprised her on-screen romance with former co-star Jane Lynch on Sunday night at the TrevorLive Gala at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. While accepting the champion Award, Shepherd kissed Lynch not one, but twice. The “Moonlighting” star was recognized [...]

  • Rami Malek, Robert Pattinson and John

    Robert Pattinson Praises Fans for Raising Funds for Go Campaign: ‘It’s So Sweet’

    Robert Pattinson is giving back, but he’s even more impressed that his friends and fans are joining him in the fight. “It’s amazing,” Pattinson told Variety on the black carpet outside Neuehouse in Hollywood at the Go Campaign’s annual gala. “And they’ve done it every year. It’s kind of — it’s so sweet and I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content