Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset Among Possible Buyers For Telecom Italia Media
ROME – Italian film and television giant Mediaset and mobile phone company 3-Italia are reportedly among the companies interested in acquiring ownership of Telecom Italia Media, the smallest of the three companies operating national television networks in Italy.
Telecom Italia Media runs La 7, the smallest of Italy’s seven national diversified television networks, plus MTV-Italia, plus a multiplex broadcasting infrastructure. The other companies operating national networks are Mediaset and state broadcaster RAI.
The Italian media reported over the weekend that Mediaset and 3-Italia, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, were among at least 13 companies interested in acquiring at least part of the company.
Other potential suitors include private equity fund Clessidra, and Spanish toll road operator Abertis; EiTowers, an Italian telecommunications tower operator; and Italian software company LT Media. Telecom Italia ad buyer Cairo Communications and The Discovery Channel are reported to be interested in only acquiring La 7 and MTV-Italia.
The deadline for non-binding offers is Sept. 24, with a follow-up round to to take place at a later date.
A Mediaset bid for Telecom Italia Media would undoubtedly raise antitrust concerns, given that such a deal would expand Mediaset’s already dominant position among free-to-air broadcasters. Mediaset, which is controlled by former Italian prime minister and billionaire media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, has argued in the past that it faces stiff competition from other platforms, most notably Sky-Italia, the satellite broadcaster company owned by News Corp.