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Media group Vivendi has revealed that it has taken a 3.01 per cent stake in Italian broadcaster Mediaset and could raise that holding to 20 per cent.
Vivendi announced on April 8th 2016 that it had concluded a strategic and industrial partnership with Mediaset. This partnership, with an international scope, included, on the one hand, various initiatives in the joint production and distribution of ambitious audiovisual content and, on the other hand, the creation of a global OTT television delivery platform. As a first step, Vivendi was to acquire 3.5 per cent of Mediaset’s share capital and 100 per cent of the share capital of the Mediaset Premium pay-television company, in exchange for 3.5 per cent of Vivendi’s share capital.
In a Statement, Vivendi said that the envisaged Mediaset Premium acquisition unfortunately led to a lawsuit and Vivendi’s proposals aimed at finding an amicable solution to the dispute were not agreed by Mediaset and its shareholder Fininvest.
“As Vivendi believes that the strategic interest of the industrial partnership announced on April 8, 2016 supersedes the stakes of the lawsuit, Vivendi announces that it has crossed today the 3 per cent threshold of the Mediaset share capital, and that it now owns 3.01 per cent,” it advised.
“Becoming a Mediaset shareholder is, for Vivendi, in line with the Group’s intention to develop its activities in Southern Europe and its strategic ambitions as a major international, European-based, media and content group,” said the company.
In accordance with applicable regulations, the Consob (the Italian Securities authority) and Mediaset have both been informed that this threshold has been crossed.
“Vivendi intends to continue to acquire Mediaset shares depending on market conditions, until possibly becoming Mediaset’s second largest industrial shareholder, which, to begin with, could represent between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of the Mediaset share capital,” it concluded.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s investment holding Fininvest, which controls Mediaset via a 34.7 per cent stake accused Vivendi of trying to depress the company’s share price to then launch a “hostile takeover” at a discounted price.
“Vincent Bollore and Vivendi have shown what their true intentions towards Mediaset were from the very start,” it said. Fininvest added it does not intend to diminish its role as Mediaset’s main shareholder and would use all means to block what it considered a “very serious deception” of market rules.