NEWS: Dewe Rogerson picks up Mediaset flotation

Dewe Rogerson has been handed the task of promoting the sale of shares in Mediaset - the media arm of Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest empire.

Dewe Rogerson has been handed the task of promoting the sale of shares

in Mediaset - the media arm of Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest empire.



The agency was hired as PR adviser to the sale two weeks ago after

pitching against five other agencies. The contract is estimated to be

worth in excess of pounds 200,000 in fees.



Mediaset’s assets include Italy’s three main commercial TV networks:

Canale 5, Rete 4 and Italia 1 - which combined have a 44 per cent share

of the Italian audience - together with the Corriere della Sera

newspaper and TV production company Videotime. Its advertising sales

house Publitalia has a virtual monopoly over commercial ad revenue in

Italy.



The company’s stranglehold over Italy’s media has overshadowed

Berlusconi’s political career leaving him open to accusations of

conflict of interest. He resigned as prime minister in December after

seven months in office and is currently on trial for alleged complicity

in the bribing of tax inspectors by Fininvest. He is standing for

election again later this month.



The flotation of between 20 and 30 per cent of Mediaset - expected to

raise up to dollars 1 billion - is the last phase of a restructuring

which will reduce Berlusconi’s stake in Fininvest to below 50 per cent.



The process began last July when a consortium of foreign investors - the

Kirch Group of Germany, Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Abdul and South

Africa’s Rupert group - acquired just under 20 per cent of the company.

A further 20 per cent was acquired by a consortium of Italian banks and

US merchant bank Morgan Stanley for dollars 720 million in December.



DR has been working on the sale of Fininvest’s financial services

company Mediolanum - scheduled for next month - since the beginning of

the year. The agency is also advising BT, reported to be considering

taking a three per cent stake in Mediaset, in its merger talks with

Cable and Wireless.



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