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Dahlia calls in liquidator

Shareholders unwilling to bail out Italian pay TV company

MILAN — Italian pay TV operator Dahlia called in the liquidator Monday.

The key shareholder, the Swedish Wallenberg family, is reported to have pulled the plug after months of unpaid invoices and mounting losses. In the 2009-10 tax year, it made losses of Euros21 million ($27 million) on revenue of $114 million.

The fledgling firm, which had sought to offer an alternative to Mediaset and Sky Italia, has around 800,000 registered users, who pay for a mix of soccer and evening adult entertainment.

Its position was further weakened when it recently lost out to Mediaset over the right to cover matches by three soccer clubs — Palermo, Bologna and Fiorentina.

Economic development minister Paolo Romani said Monday that he hoped it might still be possible to salvage the firm and save the 150 jobs that were on the line.

Filippo Chiusano of the Filmmaster Group, which supplies content for Dahlia and has a 7% stake in the operator, said: “The situation is not simple,” but he added that depending on the action taken by the liquidator, shareholders “were ready to try and find some kind of solution.”