Ben Ammar eyes all-film channel in Italy


TURIN, Italy -- Franco-Tunisian heavyweight Tarak Ben Ammar is strengthening his presence in Italy by aiming to establish an all-cinema television channel while separately looking to up his stake in animated content producer Rainbow.

The double move, which made it into Monday's edition of the daily newspaper La Repubblica, comes three days after Ben Ammar took a long-awaited 75% stake in Italian film distributor Eagle Pictures for a reported 85 million euros ($125 million).

Sources close to the deal independently confirmed that Ben Ammar was mulling an increase in his stake in Rainbow -- the company behind the hit "Winx" cartoon franchise -- to 30%. This month, Ben Ammar took a 2% stake in Rainbow, giving the company a major boost as it developed plans to list its shares on the Milan-based Italian Stock Exchange.

In addition to the news about Rainbow, La Repubblica reported that Ben Ammar was working on an all-cinema television channel that would provide a ready outlet for Eagle's library of more than 180 films. The channel would operate under the auspices of Prima TV, the Italian media company Ben Ammar already owns, the newspaper reported.

Ben Ammar's Paris offices said the tycoon who runs Quinta Communications and is a longtime collaborator of both Mediaset's Silvio Berlusconi and News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch was unavailable for comment while in transit between Rome and Paris.