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UPDATE 1-Mediaset outperforms as Berlusconi announces comeback
December 10, 2012 / 9:48 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Mediaset outperforms as Berlusconi announces comeback

(Adds trader, analyst comments)

MILAN, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Shares in Italy's largest commercial broadcaster Mediaset outperformed a weaker Italian market on Monday after controlling shareholder Silvio Berlusconi said he would seek a fifth term as prime minister.

Prime Minister Mario Monti, an unelected caretaker brought in a year ago to replace Berlusconi, said on Saturday he would resign once the country's budget is approved.

Monti's decision came after Berlusconi's centre-right PDL party withdrew parliamentary support for the technocrat government.

"Mediaset jumped at the start as investors reacted emotionally to the government crisis and the decision of Berlusconi to run in the election," a Milan trader said.

After rising 2 percent at the open, Mediaset shares turned lower to fall 1.6 percent to 1.341 euros by 0937 GMT, a smaller decline than the 3.2 percent drop in the Milan blue chip index.

Monti's decision to quit drove up the country's borrowing costs on Monday, as markets took fright at the prospect of a return to an old-style Italian political crisis.

An upgrade by Deutsche Bank also supported Mediaset's shares. The broker raised its recommendation on the stock to buy and lifted its price target by 54 percent to 2.00 euros.

"We believe Italy offers the best chance for positive macro and advertising surprise," Deutsche Bank said.

The broker also cited potential cash-raising M&A options, such as a partnership for its unprofitable Mediaset Premium pay-TV business and a selling-down of its 65 percent stake in transmission and tower business EI Towers. (Reporting by Antonella Ciancio and Claudia Cristoferi; Editing by Mark Potter)

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