Vivendi reportedly close to securing Mediaset deal

The Vivendi office is seen in Paris on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.Vivendi is close to securing a deal to take control of Mediaset’s pay TV arm, according to multiple reports.

The signs that a deal are close come despite Mediaset playing down reports of a sale in recent weeks.

According to reports by Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore and French financial daily Les Echos, the French media giant will take control of Mediaset Premium in a deal that will see it take a 3.5% stake in Mediaset proper in exchange for an equal stake in Vivendi given to Mediaset. The difference in value between the two stakes – €150 million for the Mediaset stake versus €880 million for the Vivendi stake – indicates a value of €730 million placed on Mediaset’s 89% stake in Mediaset Premium, according to the paper.

According to Il Sole 24 Ore, Telefonica will sell its 11% stake in Mediaset Premium to Vivendi. A clause in the agreement between Mediaset and the Spanish telco stipulates that Telefonica could be obliged to sell the stake following a deal between Mediaset and a third party.

According to the Italian paper, the deal between the pair will also encompass internet video, with a partnership spanning Mediaset’s Infinity offering and Vivendi’s Watchever service.

The loss-making Mediaset Premium has struggled to make headway against rival Sky in Italy, despite its expensive investment in European Champions League football rights. However, there has been speculation that Vivendi could seek to use its 24.9% in Telecom Italy to try to realise synergies between the two groups. Telecom Italia currently has a deal in place to make Sky’s content available to its subscribers via its TV service.