Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018
MILAN

Telecom Italia Media signs deal to cede La7 to Cairo

English
© ANSA

Milan, March 6 - Telecom Italia Media (TI Media)
has signed a deal to cede 100% of its La7 television station to
Cairo Communication, TI Media and Cairo announced in a joint
statement on Wednesday, raising concerns over media pluralism in
Italy.
The two companies specified that TI Media's 51% stake in
MTV Italia was not included in the deal.
The new owner of La7, Italy's fourth commercial TV channel
known for hard-hitting independent reporting, is media
businessman and Torino FC boss Urbano Cairo, a former protege'
of media magnate and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.
The sale, announced Monday, has raised concerns over
competition in TV, the medium where an estimated 90% of Italians
get their news, amid a post-election stalemate in national
politics.
After fears voiced by centre-left politicians in the run-up
to the recent elections, Cairo has pledged that La7's editorial
line would not change after his Cairo Communications took over
Italy's seventh TV channel.
"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 a talking point.
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.
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.
Telecom Italia said it intended to sell La7 as part of a
debt-trimming operation last May.
Cairo shelled out one million euros for La7, Ti Media said.

(photo: Urbano Cairo)

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