Telecom Italia to buy out media unit

Telecom Italia will incorporate its Telecom Italia Media unit (in which it has 78 per cent) after a buyout offer in shares which should be completed by the end of September.

The boards of the two companies approved a plan that will see Telecom Italia offering 0.66 ordinary shares for each TI Media ordinary share and 0.47 of its saving shares for each TI Media saving share. TI Media investors may opt to be paid off in cash at market prices. The deal should simplify the corporate structure of the parent company, generate savings and facilitate a possible sale of DTT network operator Persidera.

Persidera is Italy’s largest independent DTT network operator. It owns five DTT multiplexes – three inherited from the former Telecom Italia Media Broadcasting (95.6 per cent population coverage and 841 broadcasting sites) and two resulting from last year’s merger with peer Rete A (93 per cent population coverage and 400 broadcasting sites).

Following the sale of its TV business units La7 and MTV, the Telecom Italia Media Group has focused its development strategy on restoring efficiency and profitability. For 2015, the plan is to maintain the current level of bandwidth rental also through new customers, expand the offering of additional services and, implementing tight control over costs, thereby generate positive cash flow from the operating activities.

In a related development, Telecom Italia board member, Tarak Ben Ammar, denied local media reports on a possible interest in the Italian telecommunications operator by foreign private equity funds.

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