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Italian competition authority AGCM reviews Gruppo Espresso-ITEDI-deal

18 Jan 2017 − 

The combination of businesses of GELE and ITEDI would reportedly create the leading player in the Italian media and newspaper publishing sector with annual sales of approximately €750m.

Last week, Italian competition authority AGCM (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) has launched an antitrust probe into the planned takeover of Italiana Editrice Spa ( ITEDI) by the Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso (GELE) and will take a closer look at the classified advertisement businesses of the two publishing houses and their agencies.

The competition authority is concerned that GELE's acquisition of ITEDI and the corresponding integration of their advertising businesses could lead to market concentration and to a monopolistic or near-monopolistic position of GELE in local advertising for daily papers in provinces of Turin and Genoa, AGCM said in a press release on 11 January 2017. The review must be completed not later than 45 days after it is initiated.

Gruppo Espresso's acquisition of ITEDI has been the talk of town at least since 2 March last year when the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding. The framework agreement for the "proposed integration of the companies" was signed in August, following the approval by the companies' shareholders. According to AGCM, the proposed transaction was notified for review to the watchdog agency at the end of November.

ITEDI-takeover by GELE to create leading publishing company in Italy

The merger of GELE and ITEDI would "result in creation of the leading player in the Italian media and newspaper publishing sector and one of the leaders in Europe," Gruppo Espresso said in its August-press release. The two companies generated combined annual sales of €750m in 2015.

GELE is the publisher of Italy's largest daily newspaper La Repubblica, the weekly magazine L'Espresso as well as 18 other local dailies. The group also owns three radio stations and some national TV stations. The media company is further active in the advertising and classifieds business for its own publications as well as for third parties.

ITEDI publishes the dailies La Stampa and Il Secolo XIX. Furthermore, ITEDI runs the advertising agency Publikompass which has a leading position in the northeast of the country.

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