Digital Multimedia Technologies SpA discussed selling its broadcast-transmission towers with potential buyers including Mediaset SpA, the television company controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, two people with knowledge of the talks said.
DMT’s assets are luring suitors as digital broadcasting expands in Italy, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. The talks may not lead to an offer and DMT may pursue a partnership agreement instead, the people said.
Officials for DMT, based in Lissone, Italy, declined to comment. A Mediaset spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on speculation involving other businesses.
DMT said in December it was reviewing options including splitting the business into three parts: a telecommunications-tower unit, a broadcast-tower unit and a real-estate business. Lazard Ltd. is advising DMT on its strategic review. Officials for Lazard declined to comment.
“The company’s asset split could allow it to take part in a possible M&A in the broadcasting industry,” UniCredit SpA analysts led by Giovanni D’Amico said in a note to clients on March 14. “The upcoming auction for digital frequencies, expected in 2011, could open the broadcasting market up to new entrants and make tower assets more appealing.”
DMT has a 24 percent share of the Italian broadcast tower market, with about 1,100 towers, according to UniCredit. Combined with Mediaset, it would rival Rai Way SpA, the current leader with a 42 percent share.
DMT also owns telecommunication towers, which aren’t part of the Mediaset talks, according to the person.
DMT shares declined 10 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 18.70 euros as of 1:23 p.m. in Milan, giving the company a market value of 211 million euros ($298 million). Mediaset slipped 0.2 percent to 4.41 euros, reducing its market value to 5.2 billion euros.
DMT has a unique position in the market that can and should result in significant corporate opportunities if they are explored and the company is managed correctly, shareholder Wyser-Pratte Management Co. said in an e-mailed statement today.
In September 2007, DMT made an unsolicited offer to buy the tower business of Mediaset’s Elettronica Industriale SpA.