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
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.