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
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.