Mediaset CFO dampens Vivendi pay TV speculation

Marco Giordani

Marco Giordani

Mediaset Premium is doing well and the Italian broadcaster sees it as a core part of its operation, according to Mediaset chief financial officer Marco Giordano.

Speaking to analysts, Giordano dampened speculation that Vivendi is about to buy the unit, which is majority owned by Mediaset, with Spanish telco Telefónica holding a minority stake.

Giordano did concede that there is a wider need for international consolidation of pay TV or an integration of pay TV and telecom operations.

Vivendi has a 24.9% stake in Telecom Italia and has recently moved to extend its control of the telco’s strategic direction. This week saw the ousting CEO Marco Patuano, a move attributed to Vivendi’s influence.

There has been considerable speculation in recent weeks that Vivendi could acquire Mediaset’s pay TV unit, or even the whole of Mediaset.

Giordano’s comments follow an interview with former prime minister and Mediaset boss Silvio Berlusconi on RTL radio in which he said that Vivendi and Mediaset were looking to collaborate on content, but that a sale was not on the cards.

Mediaset Premium has 2.01 million subscribers and posted revenues of €558.8 million for last year, up from €538.4 million the year before. Mediaset said this week that the unit’s revenue grew by 11% in the second half and that its expensive investment in flagship Champions League rights was paying off.

Mediaset said it expected Premium to generate more revenues and increase its customer base in the second half of this year, thanks to its hold on the Hampions league and new content deals with Warner and Universal.

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