Telecom Italia Media to look at cost cuts

MILAN Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:52am EST

MILAN Dec 13 (Reuters) - Italy's third-largest commercial broadcaster Telecom Italia Media has mandated its management to look into possible cost cuts after continued weakness in its results and debt levels in November, the company said on Thursday.

Loss-making Telecom Italia Media has been put up for sale by its controlling shareholder, Telecom Italia, to help cut Telecom's debt pile of nearly 30 billion euros ($39 billion) and focus on its core telecoms business.

However, uncertain prospects for the media industry have resulted in unsatisfactory offers for Telecom Italia Media, which has a market capitalisation of almost 230 million euros.

In a statement Telecom Italia Media said it had appointed Marco Ghigliani as CEO of its La7 channel, the main source of losses for the company.

Earlier in December, Telecom Italia said it wanted to continue negotiations with the two bidders for its television unit to extract a better price.

Private equity fund Clessidra and media firm Cairo have placed binding offers, sources have said.

A source close to the bidding process had previously told Reuters that telecom Italia Media needs cost cuts for around 20-25 million euros annually.

Telecom Italia is open to selling its whole stake but will also consider selling the cash-burning TV channels separately from the profitable broadcast network operator, which leases bandwidth to carry its own and rival channels. ($1 = 0.7669 euros) (Reporting By Danilo Masoni, editing by Jennifer Clark)

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