Former Berlusconi exec in line to buy Italian channel

A former executive in Silvio Berlusconi's media empire was selected on Monday for exclusive negotiations to buy Italian television channel La7, owner Telecom Italia said in a statement.

Telecom Italia's board "today agreed to initiate exclusive negotiations with Cairo Communication for the sale of the entire stake in La7," the operator said.

Berlusconi himself, Australian tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Italian luxury fashion billionaire Diego Della Valle had all expressed an interest.

Cairo Communication belongs to Urbano Cairo, who worked with Berlusconi until the early 1990s and has since had a solo career in advertising and publishing.

He also owns the Torino football club.

Italy has seven national channels -- three are state-owned, three are owned by Berlusconi and the seventh is La7.