Fininvest renews its Channel 5 interest

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The Independent Online
FININVEST, the media group led by the Italian media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, is in talks that could lead to it joining Thames Television's consortium, sole bidder for the new Channel 5 service, writes Jason Nisse.

The long-rumoured move comes after Fininvest pulled out of the original Channel 5 consortium, in which it was partnered by Channel X, the TV production company headed by Jonathan Ross, before bids were put in.

Oliver Novick, who heads the international side of Fininvest, said the group was keen to be involved but the size of its involvement would depend on who the other partners might be.

Fininvest had pulled out of the original deal 'for Italian reasons'. Mr Novick said the group had faced a number of problems at home because of political pressure about the concentration of control within Italian TV and suggestions that Fininvest should sell some of its interests.

This had eased, and Fininvest would now be able to devote staff and resources to looking at Thames's proposals, which would involve a music and film channel starting initially in London.