Single network, the risk of an infinite construction site. Tim doesn’t want Mediaset

 Single network, the risk of an infinite construction site. Tim doesn't want Mediaset

The welcome is measured by the words and the enthusiasm with which the interest of those who aspire to be in the game is welcomed. And that of the single network, called to bring super-fast Internet to the homes of Italians, is potentially an open game. Because the ball is in the hands of Tim and the State, through the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, but the signatories of the agreement that unlocked the game are ready to welcome all interested parties. Almost all. In the transition from the invitation to the acceptance of the interested parties, the first short circuit already appears. Mediaset comes forward, but Tim is cold. Here are the words and the non-enthusiasm of Luigi Gubitosi from the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio: “While the interest of a telecommunications operator to participate is evident to me, it is not clear to me that of a content user such as Mediaset can be”.

The agreement between the Cassa and Tim is just five days old, but it must already serve the appetites of those who want to sit at the table of a game that has become even bigger. And this is because in the meantime the ruling of the European Court of Justice has come, which has branded the stakes set by the Gasparri law on the intersection of company shares as illegitimate. The Court said that Vivendi’s French can go over 10% within Mediaset even if they hold 23.9% of another company which – and here the game gets complicated – is Tim. The new and disruptive effect of the pronunciation is the breaking of the fences that have divided the media from the tlc. We all play in the same field. And in a wider field: the TVs together with the telecommunication operators and the so-called over the top, the giants that have the name of Facebook, Amazon and Netflix. New playing field, new rules. The deal on the single network was made before the ruling, but now it risks being infected by the decision. A few hours were enough for the company of the Berlusconi family to announce that this free all must be an effective free all, that is, it must apply to everyone. Not only for Vincent Bollorè’s transalpine group. Such as? With Mediaset’s interest in joining the match of the single network.

But Tim’s distrust took just as little time to surface. At the first public release after the sentence, Gubitosi repeated several times that he did not understand the sense of Mediaset’s interest. Here is another passage from the answer given to journalists at the press conference: “I realize the moment is suggestive given the sentence, but the agreement was previous and has no connection with this issue. If there is someone’s interest we will evaluate it but it is not obvious, industrially speaking “. These words contain a data of weight. The agreement on the single network was made before the sentence. It is not a question of time, but of content. The meaning is clear: the corporate architecture of the network has been pulled up. Certainly not definitively, Tim is also willing to have only the majority and not the control of the company of the single network, but another thing is to upset this system. The CEO of Tim specifies in a subsequent passage that every interest will be evaluated, like that of Enel, but the nonsense of Cologno Monzese’s interest is clear. Another step: for the single network “we have always thought about the participation of tlc, Fastweb and Tiscali have made agreements. Netflix and Disney, for example, use our network but are not necessarily shareholders of the company. I therefore do not believe ”that Mediaset’s interest“ will touch the project, at least in the short term ”.

The fleeting border that runs along the backbone of the game is set precisely by the content of Mediaset’s interest. Is it just a political and strategic counter-move to the advantage Vivendi gained from the court ruling? Also because if Mediaset enters the single network, it drags the French behind them, who by reactivating their 28.8% can return to counting in the extraordinary meetings, those where strategic decisions are made. But beyond the real intentions of the Berlusconi family, the move forces all the actors involved to take note of an awareness: one cannot oppose the single and wider playing field. The Court says so, the market says so, the Government is also convinced of it, which has already set out the need to change the Gasparri law. Even the single network cannot escape the tsunami that overwhelmed the world of media and telecommunications. And then there are the times. Gubitosi assures that those to transform the memorandum signed with the Cassa into a shared multi-year business plan will be “fast”. Giuseppe Conte wants everything to close in 3-4 years (double those indicated by Fabrizio Palermo in a recent one interview with Repubblica). Even with Mediaset. “Why not?”, Says the premier, renewing the invitation to an open and inclusive network. But he is not the only one to decide to welcome new interested parties.


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