Mediaset and Vivendi reportedly taking steps to a possible deal

The Vivendi office is seen in Paris on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.Lawyers for Italy’s Mediaset and France’s Vivendi are holding talks to find a solution to the bitter ongoing legal dispute between the pair, according to Reuters.

According to the news agency, citing an unnamed Italian source, the pair’s representatives are holding talks, but striking an agreement could be difficult.

Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore had earlier reported that the pair were in talks, with a possible solution mooted whereby Vivendi’s stake in Mediaset could be reduced from 28.8% to 10% through a sale of shares to Fininvest and Mediaset taking a stake in the planned joint venture between Canal+ and Telecom Italia (TIM).

According to the paper, the pair would look to strike a deal before the next hearing, set for December 19, in their ongoing legal battle.

Mediaset and Fininvest are separately suing the French media giant for damages related to its abandonment of an agreement that would have seen Vivendi take control of Mediaset’s struggling pay TV unit, Mediaset Premium.

According to a report in Italian newspaper La Repubblica this morning, any deal would also likely involve compensation for Mediaset for the losses suffered as a result of the abortive Mediaset Premium deal.

The latest developments follow a raid by French police and Italy’s Guardia di Finanza last Thursday on Vivendi’s Paris offices. The police were searching for evidence pertaining to the Milan-based investigation into possible market manipulation by the French media giant surrounding its acquisition of its stake in Mediaset at the end of last year.

Vivendi responded by maintaining that it acted in good faith and expressed continued confidence that it will ultimately strike some sort of deal with Mediaset.

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