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Telecom Italia Approves Murdoch Deal
reuters
ROME — Telecom Italia's executive committee has approved the sale of 80 percent of the company's Stream digital television unit to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, Italian newspapers reported on Saturday.

Committee members made no statement after their meeting on Friday, which had been expected to give the green light to the sale, but media said in unsourced reports that Telecom had decided to sell 80 percent of Stream for some 200 billion lire ($120 million).

No one at Telecom Italia could be reached for comment.

Telecom Italia and News Corp Europe, Murdoch's new subsidiary, said on December 27 they had reached a preliminary accord in which Telecom would sell News Corp up to 80 percent of multimedia unit Stream as a vehicle for digital TV.

Finalisation of the accord has been held up by a bidding war for the satellite rights to screen soccer games — seen as key to persuading large numbers of Italians to pay to view.

News Corp Europe chairman Letizia Moratti will next Tuesday hold a meeting with the chairman of Italy's Football League to discuss the thorny soccer rights issue.

Moratti said on Thursday she hoped to conclude a digital pay-TV deal with Telecom Italia by the end of next week.

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