Telecom Italia Media and L’Espresso Group are planning to set up a joint venture, by the end of the year, which will manage their digital multiplexes, before opening the capital in the first half of 2014 to a new financial or strategic investor.
This is the plan, according to Italian news agency Radiocor, that the two companies are working on following the announcement of a preliminary agreement (in October) to set up the first independent DTT network operator in Italy with five digital multiplexes.
The new company will hold the three multiplexes of Telecom Italia Media, operated through Telecom Italia Media Broadcasting, and the two of Rete A, the network operator belonging to L’Espresso Group. The plan is for Telecom Italia Media to have about 70 per cent of the joint venture and L’Espresso 30 per cent, due to the higher quality assets of the former in terms of population coverage and viewers. The second stage of the plan foresees the sale of a qualified stake in the new company with the possibility of taking control by the potential buyer.
According to an analysis by Mediobanca Securities, the new company could aim for revenues of around €120 million over three years with an EBITDA of around €70 million.
The Telecom Italia Media multiplexes host national broadcasters La7 and MTV Italia, as well as many of the channels belonging to the Discovery-Switchover Media group (such as Real Time, D-Max, K2, Giallo) and Sportitalia. For their part, the Rete A multiplexes include channels Cielo, Repubblica TV and All Music.