Mediaset says in talks with Al Jazeera, others on pay-TV

MILAN, July 2 Wed Jul 2, 2014 4:55am EDT

MILAN, July 2 (Reuters) - Italian broadcaster Mediaset said it was in talks with Qatari-owned broadcaster Al Jazeera and other players on a potential collaboration in pay TV business in Italy, its vice chairman said.

"It wasn't us who started the process of finding a partner, but we were approached by several players, including Al Jazeera, for a deal on (pay TV) in Italy," Pier Silvio Berlusconi said, adding that the talks had slowed down for a bit as the company was bidding for the rights to air 'Serie A' soccer matches.

"Now we will resume the talks and see if we can agree on a joint strategy with a partner," he said.

Berlusconi also said talks between the company's Spanish arm Mediaset Espana and Spain's Telefonica on Spanish pay-TV group Digital+, in which both companies hold significant stakes, aimed at forming a "strategic partnership".

"I think we are going in the right direction," he said, but declined to give details other than saying that the company had no desire "to dominate in Spain".

The stock rose more than 3 percent after the comments and was up 3.34 percent at 3.65 euros by 0836 GMT, compared with a 0.6 percent rise in Milan's blue chip index.

He also added that advertising revenues in Italy in the first half of this year were down compared with the first six months of last year.

(Reporting by Ilaria Polleschi, writing by Agnieszka Flak, editing by Francesca Landini)