Italy's Mediaset Sees Ad Sales Rise for First Time in 22 Months

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The company's stock approaches levels last seen in 2011 on signs of a recovering ad market.

ROME – Italian TV and cinema giant Mediaset, founded and controlled by Italian billionaire and three-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, predicted Wednesday that ad sales would rise in July, marking the first gain in nearly two years.

The news sent the company’s stock higher. It went above €3.00 ($3.93) for the first time since 2011.

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The Milan-based company said it expected advertising revenue this month to come in around 3 percent higher than in July 2012. If that proves to be true, it will be the first time in 22 months that the company’s monthly ad revenue was higher than in the previous month.

Even before July, Mediaset was faring batter than its main rivals, with ad sales down less than in the sector as a whole.

The last time Medisaset shares traded above €3 was July 22, 2011, two months before the last time monthly ad sales rose compared to the year-ago period. The shares – which traded as high as €3.03 ($3.97) before closing Wednesday’s session at exactly €3 – have risen 56 percent so far this year. They had set an all-time low of €1.16 ($1.52) in December.

Mediaset, one of Europe's largest media companies, includes three national television networks in Italy and one in Spain, plus the Medusa film studios, and several print media.

Berlusconi’s son, Pier Silvio Berlusconi, now runs Mediaset’s day-to-day operations, while the elder Berlusconi fends off legal challenges and plays a role in the government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta

Twitter: @EricJLyman