Telecom Italia wraps Airplus PPV deal

Telecom Italia Media (TIM) and Sweden’s Airplus TV have finalised agreement on the sale of TIM’s digital-terrestrial PPV business (La7 Cartapi’u) to Airplus’ Italian division.
A preliminary agreement was announced on Oct 17. Key terms of the agreement are as follows:

1. The sale to Airplus TV of APTV Srl, the company to which Telecom Italia Media transferred the business unit that comprises its former pay-per-view operations and staff, in return for the payment of €16.6m, subject to subsequent adjustment.
2. The execution of long-term digital terrestrial bandwidth capacity service agreements (14 Mbits) between the network operator Telecom Italia Media and Airplus TV enabling the latter to broadcast pay TV channels and pay-per-view content;
3. The underwriting by TI Media of 9% of the capital stock of the Italian subsidiary of Airplus TV for consideration of €5m.

Håkan Ramsin, CEO of AirplusTV, said: “We are excited about completing the deal with Telecom Italia Media. The Italian market is one of Europe’s key TV markets and the Italian operations will be one of our corner stones in our European expansion of Digital Terrestrial pay-TV”.

An Airplus statement added: “Terrestrial TV is the dominant TV-platform in Italy and by increasing the existing consumer offer of Serie A and B football matches, with a wider bouquet of TV content, the objective is set to reach a strong position in the new digital TV market.”

“As EU directive calls for analogue switch-off before 2012, new possibilities will emerge for pay TV in several countries in Europe in a short period of time. AirplusTV has already established Dahlia Television SA in Spain, ready to launch during 2009, and coming launches in other European countries are under consideration.”

A joint statement said: “The agreement entered into with TI Media will permit the Italian division of Airplus TV to pursue its goal of achieving significant market shares driven by a wide range of new pay content, soon to be made available, that will expand and enrich digital terrestrial broadcasting in Italy.”

The founders of Airplus TV have longstanding experience in digital terrestrial TV. The company’s management and investors include the founders and initial private investors in the successful Swedish pay-TV network, Boxer TV, in “PlusTV”, the Finnish pay-TV network that has achieved constant, rapid growth.

Airplus TV’s investors include Investor Growth Capital, a fully owned subsidiary of Investor AB, Northern Europe’s largest listed industrial holding company, and its founding investors, Provider Venture Partners, 2TD Holding (Sweden) and Constellation Ventures (USA).