Telecom Italia reportedly close to deal with Mediaset

Marco Patuano

Marco Patuano

Telecom Italia is close to striking an agreement with Mediaset to distribute the latter’s premium services on its platform, according to local press.

Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano told Italian press that a partnership was “logical” and that the telco had set a goal of becoming an open platform for the distribution of content to end users. Telecom Italia already has a deal in place with Mediaset rival Sky to distribute its content. That agreement provides for the distribution of Sky content via the TIM Sky service to set-tops distributed by the telco to its customers. Patuano said that the deal with Sky was working well and results would be revealed as part of the company’s second quarter financials.

Italian press reported earlier this week Mediaset had earlier rejected a €1.1 billion offer from Sky to acquire Mediaset Premium, the group’s pay TV arm – in which Telefónica holds an 11.1% stake – on the grounds that this was insufficient to compensate for giving Sky free rein in the Italian pay TV market.

Telecom Italia’s Patuano also told journalists that Telecom Italia’s management would meet with Vivendi in the coming days to discuss the next steps after Vivendi became the telco’s largest single shareholder with a 15% stake following its sale of Brazilian telco GVT to Telefónica.

Separately, JP Morgan has acquired a 7% stake in Telecom Italia from Telefónica as part of a wider financing agreement with the Spanish telecom operator. The move makes the bank the Italian telco’s second largest shareholder after Vivendi.