Italian TV group Mediaset – the fiefdom of media-mogul-turned-prime-minister Silvio Berlusconi – is backing a partnership of US billionaire Haim Saban and French television firm TF1 in the acquisition of KirchMedia’s remains.

The enlarged bidding team allies the largest broadcasters in Italy and France, while KirchMedia – quondam flagship of defunct media empire Kirch Gruppe – holds a majority stake in Germany’s number one TV group, ProSiebenSat.1.

Mediaset has been linked with the auction before, but as part of a rival consortium comprising Commerzbank, Lehman Brothers, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia and retail group Rewe. Rumour has it that these bidders may join the Saban-TF1 side as well.

Also taking part is a grouping of publishers Heinrich Bauer and Axel Springer. Bidders have until the end of the month to submit final offers.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff