Report: Telecom Italia in Talks on Brazil Net JV

ROME (05/12/2000) - Telecom Italia SpA is negotiating with Brazil's Rede Globo media group about the creation of a Brazilian Internet joint venture, Telecom Italia Chairman Roberto Colaninno reportedly confirmed yesterday.

"Telecom and Rede Globo are already (working) together with an important Brazilian cellular phone company, Maxtel, and now they are in discussions to see whether they have a common interest in doing something in the Internet sector," Colaninno reportedly said yesterday, according to Italian news agency ANSA. "These discussions began a few months ago and have not yet concluded."

The chairman of Telecom Italia accompanied Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi on a recent official visit to Brazil.

Colaninno's comments came in response to an article published today by the weekly Italian magazine L'Espresso, which provides further details on the proposed deal. The companies reportedly plan to set up a joint venture to provide Internet services in Brazil using television as its main medium, according to L'Espresso. The joint venture will be 60 percent controlled by Rede Globo and 40 percent by Telecom Italia, the magazine reported.

A similar joint venture, where the Italian carrier will own 60 percent and Rede Globo 40 percent, will launch Internet services in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America, the magazine reported. The companies plan to invest US$200 million in the projects over a two-year period.

Colaninno reportedly described the L'Espresso article as largely inaccurate, and a Telecom Italia spokesman declined to comment on it.

Telecom Italia can be contacted in Rome at +3906-3688-2066 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.telecomitalia.it/.

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