Telecom Italia Media shares up on sale report

Tarak Ben Ammar could be eyeing La 7, MTV-Italia

L'AQUILA, Italy -- Billionaire media tycoon Tarak Ben Ammar is mulling an offer to buy Italy's La 7 network and MTV-Italia from Telecom Italia Media, according to an unsourced report that appeared in Friday's editions of the Turin daily newspaper La Stampa.

Neither Ben Ammar nor Telecom Italia Media would comment on the report, which said the move would be used to give the French-Tunisian mogul a presence on the Italian small screen.

Though unconfirmed, the news sent Telecom Italia Media shares surging Friday, opening around 8% higher on Friday than on Thursday's close, and trading in that range for most of the session.

Such a deal could pit Ben Ammar against Italian media powerbroker Silvio Berlusconi, who is also Italy's prime minister. Berlusconi owns three national Mediaset networks and as prime minister he has control over the three state-run RAI networks. La 7 is the only national network that is not part of Mediaset or RAI.