Italian media is speculating about the possibility of an acquisition by Sky of the loss-making DTT platform Mediasat Premium.

The catalyst has been the €700 million contract for the Champions League that will be held exclusively by Mediaset for three years from the start of the next season. It has been suggested that Mediaset might look to offset some of the cost by sub-leasing matches to a third-party, something the media giant has flatly denied.

“Mediaset invites the media not to feed fanciful hypotheses circulated with the sole purpose of confusing the public. We are not in negotiations for agreements of sub-sale of TV rights to other broadcasters in the Champions League acquired exclusively by Mediaset for the years 2015-2018. Negotiations that will not open either now or in the next few months,” the broadcaster said in a forceful statement.

Despite the denial the rumours have expanded to the possibility of a purchase of the entire platform; Mediaset has already sold 11% of Mediaset Premium to Spain’s Telefonica.

London-based Enders Analysis suggests Sky might be better off waiting. “Getting rid of competition would allow Sky to raise prices, but also burden it with the new contracts. At best, if it kept the Premium subscribers on DTT to limit churn, Sky would have a small revenue upside, said Enders.

It says the regulatory risk looks substantial, including mandated third-party access to the platform and wholesale of content.