Advanced Television

RAI to sell 15% stake in tower unit

January 18, 2024

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Italian state broadcaster RAI has announced plans to sell up to 15 per cent of its majority stake in its listed broadcast tower unit, Rai Way.

The move, which aims to raise funds for a new three-year business plan, will enable RAI to monetise Rai Way while retaining control.

According to the public broadcaster, its 2024-2026 business plan, worth €225 million, prioritises digital transformation to ensure financial sustainability.

RAI first hinted at the sale in December, prompting criticism from some Rai Way minority investors.

Amber, Artemis and Kairos argue that a merger with rival EI Towers (60 per cent owned by F2i and 40 per cent by Mediaset), would be more lucrative for all, unlocking more synergies, create a national leader in broadcast towers, and improve Rai Way’s efficiency and value.

Selling shares, they warn, could harm minority shareholders, weaken Rai’s negotiating power with Ei Towers, and alienate institutional investors.

Amber, Artemis, and Kairos have threatened to boycott a potential share placement if their concerns are not addressed.

However, RAI appears open to exploring further options for Rai Way’s growth. This openness suggests that the share sale wouldn’t necessarily close the door on a potential future merger with EI Towers.

According to a previously discussed merger plan, Rai Way investors would have received an extraordinary dividend of €310-400 million, according to calculations by analyst Kepler.

RAI currently owns a 65 per cent stake in Rai Way which has over 2,300 transmission sites across Italy with 99 per cent of the population covered with a DTT signal.

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