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Vivendi ups stake in Telecom Italia

French media group Vivendi has increased its stake in Telecom Italia to 22.8 per cent, a regulatory filing showed, further strengthening its position as the top shareholder in the Italian phone group.

The filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, dated February 19th, said Vivendi bought shares equivalent to 1.4 per cent of Telecom Italia’s ordinary capital last week, both on the market and through off-market transactions.

The move comes as speculation mounts in the Italian press that Vivendi may be interested in the pay-TV arm of Mediaset, Italy’s biggest private broadcaster, which is controlled by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Corriere della Sera reported on Saturday Vivendi had tabled an offer for Mediaset Premium as part of a plan to create the biggest media player in southern Europe, but disagreement over the unit’s price has blocked a deal.

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