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SBD Global/March 6, 2013/Media

Telecom Italia Sells National TV Network La7 To Cairo Communications For Only $1.3M

Telecom Italia Media said Monday that it "would sell its control of La7," Italy’s smallest national TV network, to Cairo Communications, while at the same time revealing financial results that "showed an increase in viewership numbers by far weaker financials," according to Eric J. Lyman of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The acquisition deal "was controversial" because Cairo Communications Founder & Owner Urbano Cairo is a former lieutenant to billionaire media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi. There are "conflicting media reports as to how close the two men are." Berlusconi, who is one of three parties embroiled in a political standoff to determine who will be Italy’s next prime minister, already "owns three of the country’s seven national networks through his television and cinema giant Mediaset." The fear is that Cairo’s takeover of La7 "could give him influence there, especially in terms of editorial neutrality for its news programs." The complex deal involves Cairo paying Telecom Italia Media just €1M ($1.3M), while also "agreeing to a recapitalization of the company that will leave Telecom Italia Media with a net positive financial position" of at least $115M (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 3/4).
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