Antitrust authority starts Sky Italia probe

ROME, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Italy's antitrust authority is investigating Rupert Murdoch's Sky Italia for possibly abusing its market position when acquiring broadcasting rights for the World Cup, the authority said on Tuesday.

The authority said it is probing Sky Italia, News Corp's satellite unit, over the acquisition of exclusive rights to broadcast both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, which it said could constitute an anti-competitive abuse.

It said it had initiated the probe at a meeting on November 3 and the procedure should be completed by the end of November 2011.

Sky Italia said in a statement it was surprised about the investigation and said the key World Cup matches were also available on other Italian channels, even though Sky Italia held the broadcasting rights.

The investigation was based on findings presented in May by broadcaster Mediaset, which is controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Sky Italia said.