The merger of Italy’s two pay-TV platforms is going ahead after Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation finally agreed a deal with Vivendi Universal to buy its Telepiù satellite unit.
NewsCorp will pay €893 million (€880m; £561m) for the broadcaster, far below the €1.5 billion initially asked by Vivendi. The agreed price will comprise €470m cash plus the assumption of Telepiù’s €423m debt.
On completion of the deal (expected by year-end), Telepiù will be merged with Stream, the pay-TV platform co-owned by NewsCorp and Telecom Italia, with the resulting monopoly branded Sky Italia.
“It is a unique market opportunity to create the sole pay-TV platform in continental Europe's third largest economy,” enthused Murdoch, leaving some observers wondering whether the media mogul will extend this zeal for pay-TV monopolies to the US, where he has been lobbying against a merger of the only two satellite firms (neither owned by NewsCorp) on competition grounds.
The reduced price of the Telepiù deal means NewsCorp can take an 80.1% stake in Sky Italia, with Telecom Italia holding the rest. Originally, the Murdoch empire had been planning to take 50%, with TI and private investors allotted 25% each.
Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff