Eutelsat is likely to be a big winner in Vivendi’s planned deal to buy Mediaset’s ‘Premium’. Observers expect most of Mediaset’s 400 channels to operate from Eutelsat, and this would equate to 20-30 transponders depending on the rate of digital compression.
The reason is straightforward enough: Eutelsat is the main supplier of satellite capacity over Italy. Mediaset Premium is not available on satellite, and just about all of Italian dishes look at Eutelsat’s signals (for public broadcaster RAI as well as Sky Italia).
Currently Vivendi/Canal Plus is a great believer in satellite DTH, and equity analysts at investment bank Exane/BNP-Paribas expects Vivendi to “broaden the distribution of Mediaset Premium over satellite, and Eutelsat looks best placed to win that new platform”.
Berenberg Bank’s analysts also see the deal as being positive for each of the players, saying: “The exit from Premium has been structured in such a way as to give Mediaset some upside from future developments in pan-European pay-TV – this is not a straight sale. Mediaset’s 3.5 per cent stake in Vivendi will give the group exposure to the larger company’s attempts to expand and resuscitate its existing pay-TV activities. It will also benefit from any synergies arising from the ownership of the stake in Telecom Italia, which could be a more-valuable strategic partner for Premium now that the latter is controlled by Vivendi.”