Following weeks of speculation, and heightened rumours that a deal was imminent, Vivendi has confirmed that it has entered into what is described as an important binding strategic and industrial agreement with Italian broadcaster Mediaset.
The two companies have agreed to develop an industrial partnership at international level to, on one hand, jointly develop various initiatives for the production and distribution of ambitious audiovisual content and, on the other, to create a global over-the-top (OTT) television delivery platform better to compete with the likes of Netflix.
Under the terms of the agreement, 3.5 per cent of Vivendi’s share capital will be exchanged for 3.5 per cent of Mediaset’s share capital and 100 per cent of the share capital of the Mediaset Premium pay-television company.
The addition of Mediaset Premium allows Vivendi to expand significantly its presence in European pay-television, increasing its global individual subscriber base to over 13 million, in an Italian market offering important growth opportunities.
The agreement with Mediaset confirms Vivendi’s intention to build strong positions in Southern Europe, a market that shares a similar Latin culture and roots. Mediaset’s significant presence in Italy and Spain, through general entertainment and thematic channels (free and pay), represents an important stepping stone toward achieving this goal.
It also represents a major step forward for Vivendi in its ambition to become a large international media and content group with a European essence. Through its subsidiary Studiocanal, Vivendi is already the leading European film producer and, as announced recently, it has significantly strengthened its presence in television production by making equity investments in several independent production companies in Spain and the United Kingdom. The Group also launched Studio+, which produces exclusive premium series created specifically for mobile devices available through a dedicated app.
The closing of the transaction, which is expected to occur in the coming months, is subject to the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities.