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A+E sets up Italian operation

US channels operator A+E Networks has embarked on its first wholly owned channel operation in Europe by opening a new business in Italy.

Based in Rome, A+E Networks Italy will launch Crime + Investigation on Sky Italia and in early 2014 will take full control of History, which has previously been owned in Italy by Fox International Channels (FIC).

Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A+E Networks, said the formation of A+E Networks, its first wholly owned operation in Europe, marked an “important milestone” for the company.

Crime + Investigation will launch on December 16 on Sky Italia, the pay TV platform backed by 21st Century Fox.

The latter’s global networks division, FIC, has been running the History channel under a licensing agreement with A+E. Once that deal expires, A+E Networks Italy will be in complete control of History and Crime + Investigation.

The deal marks a move away from A+E’s usual tactic of partnering with local channels when launching its networks.

Most recently, the company joined forces with French pay TV firm Canal+ to introduce a version of its A&E channel in Europe for the first time.

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