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Vivendi chief still hopeful of Mediaset deal

Arnaud de Puyfontaine

Arnaud de Puyfontaine

Vivendi is still hopeful of striking a deal with Mediaset following the acrimonious collapse of the pair’s partnership, according to CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine.

De Puyfontaine told Italian press on Friday that he was hopeful the pair would be able to resolve the dispute that has escalated after Vivendi’s decision to pull out of a plan that would have seen the French media group become sole owner of the Italian broadcaster’s pay TV unit, Mediaset Premium.

Speaking after a board meeting of Telecom Italia, in which Vivendi is a major shareholder, De Puyfontaine said he was “optimistic” a solution could be achieved.

Vivendi and Mediaset would be expected to reach any agreement soon, given that the next round of Italian Serie A and European Champions League football rights negotiations are set to kick off in the New Year.

Mediaset is currently suing Vivendi for damages amounting to €50 million a month following the French media giant’s decision not to go ahead with the April 8 deal between the pair that would have seen it take over Mediaset Premium. Mediaset’s parent company Fininvest is also suing Vivendi.

There have been reports in the Italian media that Mediobanca, in which Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré has a 7.9% stake, and Tunisian businessman Tarak Ben Ammar, who serves on Vivendi’s supervisory board and has media interests in Italy, are acting as intermediaries between the feuding companies.