July 5, 2018 / 10:43 AM / in 9 months

Italy's Mediaset CEO says time for deal with Telecom Italia is passed

FILE PHOTO: Mediaset's Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi after a media conference at the company's headquarters in Cologno Monzese, near Milan, Italy, April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - The time for an agreement between Italian private broadcaster Mediaset (MS.MI) and Telecom Italia (TIM) (TLIT.MI) is passed, Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi said.

Last week the Milan-based TV group announced it was working on creating a pan-European broadcaster after signing a content sharing deal with Sky SKYB.L and a deal TIM to give the phone group’s customers access to its free-to-air channels.

But Berlusconi said that interest toward TIM was “financial sci-fi”, in comments made to reporters in Monte Carlo and confirmed by a spokesman.

The group, controlled by the family of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has been re-thinking its model after the sale of its Premium pay-TV unit to France’s Vivendi (VIV.PA) failed in 2016.

The missed deal hit the finances of the group, which returned to profit in 2017. Berlusconi said a return to dividend on 2018 results could be “possible”.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; editing by Francesca Landini

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