Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore is reporting that Mediaset and Fininvest are seeking about €3 billion in damages from French media giant Vivendi. The sum comes from the Italian newspaper’s own calculations and is based on company formal filings made by Mediaset.
A mediation process is currently underway, says the report. If this mediation fails then the next hearing will be before a Milanese civil court set to start on December 19th, according to a Vivendi filing.
Equity analysts at investment bank Exanbe/BNP-Paribas, say: “Mediaset’s claim seems to have increased from €1.3billion to €3 billion which is presumably accumulated damages but the claim already seemed somewhat extravagant and now represents 80% of Mediaset’s local market capitalisation. We expect this to be a small hit to Vivendi’s share price [today Sept 4] but more be a marker for something to be negotiated down from.”
The bank’s note to clients continues: “Despite reports in Italy a few months of a possible peace deal between the two parties, Arnaud de Puyfontaine [Vivendi CEO], recently told the Financial Times that attempts to find a resolution had so far failed. He suggested that Vivendi received ‘wrong’ information during talks about the deal. In remarks echoing comments Mr De Puyfontaine made to the FT last August, said: ‘We signed an agreement in April 2016. We made it very clear that the nature of the information provided to us was misleading and we tried to find a way to get out of what was a kind of situation in which we were not happy.’”
Mediaset responded to De Puyfontaine’s comments by saying the French company had signed the deal after one month of due diligence. “They had plenty of time to check Mediaset Premium fundamental financial and commercial data,” the company said. “On the basis of this due diligence they were able to agree a price. . . and [there were] only three specific reasons to refuse the closing. Not one of these reasons occurred and therefore Vivendi started to manipulate the truth creating huge damages to Mediaset”.