Italy's Antitrust Authority has said that it will wave through Telecom Italia and publishing giant Seat Pagine Gialle's proposed takeover of Cecchi Gori-owned broadcaster Telemontecarlo (TMC), if a law court greenlights the deal, and providing both companies comply with four regulatory conditions.
Last week, Italy's communications watchdog vetoed the takeover because of an Italian law which forbids Telecom Italia, or any company it controls, from owning a free-to-air TV network. Telecom Italia and Seat have appealed the decision.
Both companies immediately agreed to the conditions set out by the Antitrust Authority and designed to prevent Telecom Italia, still the leading player on the Italian telecoms market, from having a strategic hold over telecom networks, the internet, TV and the publicity sector.
The conditions stipulate that for three years, Telecom Italia will not be allowed to hold exclusive internet distribution rights to Cecchi Gori's library of content. Secondly, from April 2001, Telecom Italia will be forced to grant competitors unrestricted access to its infrastructure so that they can install their own fibre-optic cables.
Thirdly, advertising on TMC's two channels will not be allowed to direct viewers to Seat's Pagine Gialle (Yellow Pages). And finally, Telecom Italia will only be able to offer new interactive television services if the same transmission band is made available to the company's competitors.