Telepiu and Stream, the pay-TV companies respectively owned by media mammoths Vivendi and Rupert Murdoch with Telecom Italia, are set to merge in a deal that will give the French company two-thirds control of the combined operation.

An announcement is said to be imminent this week, although the deal will require the green light from EC and Italian competition regulators.

Both companies are racking-up massive losses, Telepiu dropping an estimated E220 million ($196m) last year while Stream waved goodbye to around E400m. According to those close to the situation, both operations are overstaffed and ripe for pruning.

Telepiu claims around 2.6m subscribers and Stream marginally over half that number.

News source: Financial Times