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News Corp not in talks with Telecom Italia

Talks, what talks?

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News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch said he has not been in talks with Telecom Italia.

Apparent negotiations were said to involve a possible deal with Sky Italia which would have further bolstered Telecom Italia's move into web content delivery.

In a surprise move early last week, Telecom Italia announced a shift from its traditional telecommunications business to delivering web content including music, film, and television through its broadband service.

Ex-chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera, who quit Telecom Italia on Friday after a major rift with Italian prime minister Romano Prodi over the sale of its TIM mobile unit, had claimed he was in talks with Murdoch.

Murdoch was speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference in New York yesterday where he said that no potential deal is in the offing with Telecom Italia, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In related news, Business Week reports that telecom workers are expected to strike on 3 October in dispute of Telecom Italia's restructuring plans.

As the Telecom Italia saga rumbles on, Prodi has confirmed that he will address parliament next week on the government's involvement with private business - a relationship that has provoked widespread disapproval.

He will hope to draw a line under what has been the first major test of his leadership. ®

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