MILAN, June 29 RCS Mediagroup, the
publisher of influential Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera,
could be split into three units after a capital hike that is
changing the balance of power among its shareholders, La
Repubblica reported on Saturday.
The split, aimed at extracting value from the debt-laden
company, could open the door to new investors, the Italian daily
said in an unsourced report.
Fiat said on Friday it will almost double its stake
in RCS to 20.1 percent after a 400 million-euro capital increase
that ends next week.
The carmaker, which already controls Turin newspaper La
Stampa, will likely become the biggest shareholder in RCS as
other investors sell their rights and their stakes are diluted.
The controlling group of shareholders also includes
investment bank Mediobanca, tyre maker Pirelli
, Italy's biggest retail bank Intesa Sanpaolo
and leading insurer Generali.
The group could then hive off activities linked to Corriere
della Sera and roll them into a new company with La Stampa.
A second unit could be built around sports newspaper
Gazzetta dello Sport, while a third company would absorb the
Spanish assets of RCS, according to La Repubblica.
Fiat chairman John Elkann, who was named to the board of
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in May, could invite the
Australian media tycoon to take a stake in one of the three new
companies, La Repubblica said.
There is no plan to tie up RCS Mediagroup with News Corp
, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters,
adding that Fiat investment in RCS aims to stabilise a wobbly
shareholder base so the company turnaround plan can proceed.
A plan worked out to shore up the company in February does
not envisage any split and is based on the sale of a wide range
of assets and on layoffs.