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Italy’s Mediaset has announced the start of the process of expanding of the shareholder structure of its pay-TV unit, Mediaset Premium, with a view to developing content production and distribution activities across all the pay platforms.
Spain’s Telefonica has agreed to purchase a 11.1 per cent stake in Mediaset Premium for €100 million, reflecting an equity value of €900 million for Mediaset’s pay-TV activities that will be transferred to a newco.
According to Mediaset, this partnership marks an important alliance with Telefonica for future cooperation in their respective pay-TV activities in terms of technology, know-how and content.
In a related development, Mediaset Deputy Chairman, Pier Silvio Berlusconi, told Italian “Corriere della Sera” that Mediaset was in talks with French group Vivendi, Qatar’s Al Jazeera and other players on possible cooperation in the pay-TV sector. According to him, Mediaset needs international alliances to remain competitive and talks with partners are also aimed to give the company access to the English-speaking market.
Since launching, Mediaset Premium has always been in the red. It lost €200 million between 2006 and 2009, was close to breaking even in 2010, before again loosing €68 million in 2011, the year when Mediaset suspended the reporting of operating results of its pay-TV unit.