Mediaset aims for European expansion with the support of Vivendi

A Vivendi sign is seen at the company’s headquarters in Paris, France, April 8, 2015. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes / File Photo

Italy’s leading commercial broadcaster Mediaset (MS.MI) has embarked on European expansion to fend off competition and hopes to gain the support of all of its investors, including French Vivendi (VIV.PA), he said. declared Tuesday.

The group controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday unveiled new plans to move its legal base to the Netherlands, after being forced to suspend a similar project last year after opposition from Vivendi .

Milan-based television group Mediaset has long viewed cross-border alliances as the answer to the threat posed by rivals such as streaming services Netfix (NFLX.O) and Amazon Prime Video (AMZN.O).

“We believe that transnational consolidation is more feasible than in the country,” Mediaset CFO Marco Giordani told analysts, adding that the raison d’être of the planned move in the Netherlands is to create a “pan group. -European content and entertainment “covering a variety of national broadcasters but with a neutral basis.

Vivendi’s opposition to the previous relocation plan had been taken to courts across Europe, with its hand bolstered by court rulings, including two court rulings late last year that restored rights full votes on its Mediaset stake.

The French group is Mediaset’s second-largest investor with a 29% stake and the two have been locked in a bitter legal dispute since the failure of a pay-TV deal in 2016.

However, Vivendi’s support is now essential for Mediaset to pass extraordinary resolutions such as the new legal basis, which will be put to a shareholder vote on June 23.

In an apparent olive branch offered to Vivendi, Mediaset said it will ask shareholders on May 27 to scrap a loyalty share program that strengthens the Berlusconi family’s grip on the company.

In another friendly gesture, Giordani said the latest Dutch relocation plan would not include an improved voting system that had been criticized by Vivendi under the previous proposal.

“We don’t want to go back to a situation where we talk more about legal issues than about industrial strategy,” Giordani said. “Let’s take it step by step, but let’s move.”

On Monday, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters the groups were trying new attempts to resolve their dispute.

Mediaset, which controls Spanish broadcaster Mediaset Espana (TL5.MC), has acquired a potential 23.5% stake in German media group ProSiebenSat.1 as part of its European expansion plan. (PSMGn.DE).

Giordani also confirmed that Mediaset was among the contenders for Bertelsmann’s (BTGGg.F) controlling stake in French company M6 (MMTP.PA), while acknowledging that there was little hope of success in the light. remarks from Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe in favor of national consolidation. .

Mediaset’s attempt to revive its growth plan while also seeking to appease Vivendi pushed its share price up 3% on Tuesday, against a slight drop in the Milan All Stock Index (.FTITLMS).

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