(Adds more quotes by Elkann, share price, background on media
MILAN, July 1 Italian publisher RCS Mediagroup's
main shareholder John Elkann on Monday dismissed press
reports of a link-up between the loss-making group and Rupert
Murdoch's News Corp, where he sits on the board.
When asked to comment on a possible News Corp investment in
the Italian group, Fiat Chairman Elkann said no talks were
taking place between the companies. "There are no alliances in
the works," he said.
Elkann has emerged as an important player in Italian
publishing after Fiat, which already controls Turin newspaper La
Stampa, said on Friday it would double its stake in RCS to 20.1
percent after a capital increase needed to keep the publisher in
business ends this week.
The surprise move averted a looming power vacuum at the
publisher, home of Italy's most influential daily Corriere della
Sera, which could have threatened the company's survival if
future shareholders disagreed on how to bring it back to profit.
Elkann was nominated last month to the board of News Corp,
which began trading as a separate company on Monday. Elkann also
owns 5 percent of The Economist, through holding company Exor
"Our goal is to give the company (RCS) the stability it
needs to continue being the important publisher it always has
been," Elkann said on the sidelines of a business conference in
Milan on Monday.
"We have fellow investors who share our same views and a
cohesive shareholder group," he said.
The 400-million-euro ($520 million) capital increase process
which ends on Friday is needed to replenish the company's equity
after it was eroded by losses from a debt-financed acquisition
RCS plans to return profit with asset disposals and staff
cuts. Fiat's move to increase its stake increases the likelihood
the business plan will not be undermined by bickering between
RCS's thinly-traded shares were trading 15.9 percent higher
at 1205 GMT.
($1 = 0.7693 euros)
(Reporting by Jennifer Clark; Writing by Francesca Landini;
Editing by Pravin Char)