MILAN, April 27 Italian broadcaster Mediaset
confirmed it had received expressions of interest from
foreign players for its pay-TV business - though it gave no
names - as media speculation grows a tie-up could be on the
In a statement late on Saturday, the company said the
strategic value of Mediaset Premium had drawn interest from
"various international operators for a possible partnership."
Last Thursday Mediaset denied it had sealed any deal after a
press report said Qatari-owned Al Jazeera and Vivendi's
Canal+ had reached an agreement to take a stake in Premium.
Italy's biggest TV broadcaster, controlled by former Italian
prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, makes most of its turnover by
selling advertising space. It has seen profits hit in recent
years by the economic crisis and is selling assets.
Earlier this month it raised 284 million euros by selling a
minority stake in its TV towers unit in a move that could help
it fund the purchase of lucrative soccer rights to boost its
In its statement on Saturday Mediaset said recent reports
regarding the value of the pay-TV unit were groundless.
Newspapers over the weekend cited two investment banks
giving very different valuations for Mediaset Premium. One said
it could be worth up to 800 million euros but another said it
was not worth more than 300 million euros.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Sophie Walker)