Mediaset, RAI to be excluded from Italy frequency auction-EU source

MILAN Wed Nov 7, 2012 9:38am EST

MILAN Nov 7 (Reuters) - Italy's biggest commercial broadcaster Mediaset SpA and state-owned RAI will be barred from taking part in an an upcoming auction for Italian television frequencies, a European Commission source said on Wednesday.

"A few weeks ago Italian authorities notified us a proposal on auction rules ... participation is limited to operators who have less than five multiplex. Therefore Mediaset and RAI are excluded," the source told Reuters.

Mediaset, owned by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and RAI each own five so-called multiplex, group of channels transmitted on digital bandwidth.

All other TV players in Italy own less than five multiplex. The auction is estimated to fetch 1.1-1.2 billion euros. (Reporting By Lisa Jucca)