Mediaset confirms expressions of interest

April 28, 2014 08.08 Europe/London By Robert Briel

MediasetTowerItalian media group Mediaset confirmed Saturday that it has received expressions of interest from foreign media companies.

The confirmation comes amidst speculation that a possible tie-up with Canal Plus and Al Jazeera’s BeIn Sport is in the works. On Thursday, Mediaset issued a denial that a deal between the three parties was struck, as reported by Il Sole 24 ore.

The rumours were fulled by the talks that are currently going on about the Spanish assets of Mediaset. The boards of directors of Mediaset and Mediaset España are now evaluating a project for the integration and development of the Group’s pay-TV activities in a single stand-alone company.

The operation foresees the contribution to a newco of 100% of the activities of Mediaset Premium and the 22% stake – along with all the related options and rights – held in the Spanish operator Digital Plus.

“The evaluation will examine international development potential, possible synergies, the expansion of over-the-top services, as well as the eventual involvement of industrial and/or financial partners in the newco,” the company said last December in a press statement.

Meanwhile, competition in Italy with regards to football rights has become fierce with Mediaset Premium is trying to break Sky Italia’s dominance in the sector.

Earlier in April Mediaset has sold a 25% stake in broadcast infrastructure operator EI Towers to raise around EUR283.7 million. The shares were placed at EUR 40.15 each and, according to Mediaset, the money raised “will be used to accelerate the development process of the core business of the Mediaset group, with specific focus on contents, both in Italy and abroad and will allow to increase the financial resources available to pursue industrial opportunities.”

Before the sell-off Mediaset held 65% of EI Towers through its subsidiary Elettronica Industriale