Rome, January 12 - Italy's antitrust authority has opened a preliminary investigation into the takeover of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' publishing company Itedi by Espresso Group, it emerged on Thursday. The two companies are "both active in newspaper and magazine publishing, distribution and advertising through various means", the Antitrust authority said. Itedi publishes Turin daily La Stampa and Genoa newspaper Il Secolo XIX, and Espresso Group publishes numerous local papers as well as leading Rome daily La Repubblica and its sister weekly l'Espresso. The integration of advertising dealers Manzoni and Publikompass, respectively subsidiaries of Espresso Group and Itedi, "will lead to the creation of monopolies or near monopolies" in local advertising for daily papers in the provinces of Turin and Genoa, the Antitrust authority added. Espresso Group and Itedi signed an agreement to combine their businesses last August. Under the deal, Italian holding company CIR will hold 43.4% capital in the new combined Espresso Group, FCA will hold 14.63%, and Carlo Perrone's Ital Press will hold 4.37%. FCA will subsequently distribute its entire equity to holders of its common stock, which will result in Agnelli investment company Exor receiving 4.26%.
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