Italy's Clessidra still bidding for TI Media as partner drops out

MILAN Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:10am EST

MILAN Jan 20 (Reuters) - Italian private equity fund Clessidra is still bidding for the country's third-largest commercial broadcaster, Telecom Italia Media, after its partner Equinox pulled out, a source close to the matter said on Sunday.

"Equinox has pulled out but Clessidra has not thrown in the towel. It will see what happens," said the source, who declined to be named because the matter was confidential.

Italian fund Equinox was not immediately available for comment, while Clessidra declined to say anything on the issue.

Clessidra is competing with Italian media firm Cairo Communications to win control of Telecom Italia Media, a unit of Telecom Italia. Its offer was said to value the TV company at 330 million to 380 million euros ($438.62 million-$505.08 million) including debt.

Sources said Clessidra was interested in bidding for the whole of TI Media, while Cairo Communications wanted just the just the TV business.

Telecom Italia had hoped to sell its 77.7 percent stake in the loss-making broadcaster by the end of 2012 to help cut debt of 29.5 billion euros and focus on its telecoms business, but has been thwarted by low bids.

On Thursday, the Italian incumbent decided to extend talks with bidders for its unit after it dismissed initial offers as disappointing. ($1 = 0.7524 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Lisa Jucca and Louise Heavens)