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Telefónica buys into Mediaset

Spanish telecoms group Telefónica has acquired an 11.1% stake in Silvio Berlusconi’s pay TV business Mediaset Premium for €100m (US$136m).

The deal with the former Italian prime minister’s media group, which was mooted in April, marks a further expansion by Telefónica into pay TV.

On Friday, Europe’s second biggest telco struck a deal with the Spanish arm of Mediaset to give it full ownership of Madrid-based pay TV firm Distribuidora de Television, known as Canal+.

Mediaset said in a statement today it would also spin-off its pay TV side, which is Italy’s number-two pay TV player, into a new entity with a €900m equity value.

Pier Silvio Berlusconi, deputy chairman of Mediaset and son of the former premier, also revealed Mediaset is in talks with Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera and France’s Canal+ to cooperate in the Italian pay TV business.

Mediaset has suffered from a downturn in advertising spend over recent years and raised €283m in April by selling a stake in its broadcasting infrastructure firm El Towers.

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