Media companies express interest in Telecom Italia’s television unit

Telecom Italia has moved a step closer to selling its television unit after numerous companies expressed an interest in making the acquisition.

According to reports, Discovery Communications, Hutchison Whampoa and News Corp owned Sky Italia are in the market to make the acquisition of Telecom Italia Media. Telecom Italia Group has set a deadline of September 24 2012 for all non-binding offers.

News of interest from multiple companies sent Telecom Italia Media’s share price rocketing yesterday, rising by 22%. Telecom Italia, which owns a 78% share in the media unit, put it up for sale as part of a strategy common among other struggling European operators at the moment, to divest small, non-core assets.

Telecom Italia has a huge debt load, which stood at €30.4 billion at the end of June. It aims to reduce its debt to €27.5 billion by the end of the year through the sale of its media unit, in addition to other non-core assets.

The Financial Times reports that although Discovery, Hutchison Whampoa and Sky Italia had expressed an interest, it was still unclear whether the companies would be making an offer in time for the deadline next Monday.