Venerdì, 21 Settembre 2018
ROME

La7 sold to Cairo

English
© ANSA

Rome, March 4 - Italy's fourth commercial TV
channel La7, known for hard-hitting independent reporting, has
been sold to media businessman and Torino FC boss Urbano Cairo,
a former protege' of media magnate and ex-premier Silvio
Berlusconi, La7 presenter and political analyst Gad Lerner
tweeted Monday before confirmation of the sale came in.
Amid fears from centre-left politicians, Cairo has pledged
that La7's editorial line will not change after Telecom Italia
sells Italy's seventh TV channel to his Cairo Communications.
"I am not going to give away the best players, those that
increase viewing numbers and give us visibility on the market,"
he said in the run-up to February 24-25 elections, when the sale
became an issue.
On Monday, after the takeover news, all he would say was
"I've got hold of a real hot potato".
Cairo has previously stated he has no intention of
following in the footsteps of Berlusconi, who in the past has
allegedly used his political and economic clout to purge his
three private Mediaset channels and state broadcaster RAI of
journalists critical of his government and policies.
Several subsequently migrated to La7.
During the election campaign Berlusconi said he "hoped" La
7's "leftist" line would change after Cairo took over.
Cairo, 55, was given his start in business by Berlusconi
and subsequently set up his own media and advertising group,
before emulating his acknowledged model, the
magnate-turned-politician who owns AC Milan, by buying Serie A
outfit Torino.
La7, which has been a drain on Telecom Italia, is
considered one of the last independent broadcasters with a
national reach.
Its acquisition by Cairo, who began his career working at
Berlusconi's advertising group Publitalia, has generated
fears - aired by narrow front-runner amid Italy's post-election
stalemate, Pier Luigi Bersani of the Democratic Party - that it
may become another Berlusconi mouthpiece.
Berlusconi responded to Bersani's claims that plurality
could be at risk by saying: ''I have not had a relationship
with Urbano Cairo for several years. He was my assistant and
then he became an entrepreneur and it's been a while since I
last heard him''.
Telecom Italia said it intended to sell La7 as part of a
debt-trimming operation last May.

© Riproduzione riservata

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