From Branislav Pekic in Rome
The Board of Directors of Telecom Italia Media has decided to suspend the process of selling TIMB (Telecom Italia Media Broadcasting) which operates two national digital terrestrial TV multiplexes in Italy.
The reasons cited for the move are the lack of adequate bids and the recent regulatory changes that could increase the value of the digital multiplexes in the future for the group. The Italian government was also allegedly opposed to the sale as assets such as digital multiplexes are being mostly targeted by foreign investment funds.
On September 30th, the two digital multiplexes covered respectively 76.11 per cent and 87.11 per cent of the Italian population. TIMB reported a 3.5 per cent increase of revenues to E35.4 million during the first nine months of 2009, thanks to higher revenues from leasing space on the multiplexes to third parties.
Only last week, Telecom Italia Media said it was claiming E240 million in compensation from the Italian government over the allocation of DTT frequencies in the Val d’Aosta, Western Piedmont and Trentino Alto Adige regions. The company was disappointed by the awarding of fewer frequencies in these areas, due to a change in the awards process after pressure from the European Commission.