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Everything we know about: Vivendi vs. Mediaset

TVBEurope charts the ongoing dispute over the creation of MediaForEurope

Italian media company Mediaset has been locked in a six-month legal battle with its French shareholder Vivendi. TVBEurope charts the ongoing dispute.

What is the Vivendi/Mediaset row about? 

Mediaset is owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In June 2019, the broadcaster announced plans to merge with its Spanish subsidiary Mediaset España, to establish an Amsterdam-based holding company called MediaForEurope, which would operate in Italy, Spain and Germany.

Why does Vivendi object?

Vivendi refused to sell its 29 per cent stake in Mediaset, arguing that the merger would promote the interests of the Berlusconi family (via its holding company Fininvest) and prejudice those of Vivendi.

What happened in court?

In October 2019, Madrid’s commercial court suspended the merger. Vivendi welcomed the ruling: “The judge has acknowledged that the planned merger was imposed in an abusive manner by Mediaset and its controlling shareholder Fininvest to the detriment of all minority shareholders.”

How did the companies reach gridlock? 

Vivendi proposed to cut its stake in Mediaset in order to reach a deal, but the companies failed to reach an out-of-court settlement in December 2019. Vivendi was then ordered to freeze two-thirds of its stake in Mediaset.

Where does the case stand now? 

Vivendi has asked a Dutch court for an injunction to prevent the merger. Mediaset has filed a merger plan with the Dutch register of companies to extend the deadline by six months.