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Mediaset sees off Simon Fiduciaria challenge

Italian broadcast giant Mediaset has seen off a court challenge that it had interpreted a s a move to strengthen one-time putative partner and now arch-enemy Vivendi’s influence in the group.

Mediaset hailed a decision by the Milan Court to reject shareholder Simon Fiducaria’s claim against on order issued on November 25.

Mediaset had excluded Simon Fiduciaria, the company in which Vivendi placed the bulk of its shares in Italian broadcaster Mediaset to meet regulatory demands that it reduce its participation in the company, from a shareholders’ meeting in June, following a legal move by Simon to assert its rights as a shareholder.

Mediaset had said that the decision to exclude Simon was justified by Vivendi’s refusal to honour the commitments made in its aborted 2016 agreement to purchase Mediaset’s pay TV unit and by regulator AGCOM’s ruling that Vivendi had breached the the country’s Testo Unico dei Servizi di Media Audiovisivi e Radiofonici (TUSMAR) rules whereby electronic communications companies with a market share in excess of 40% cannot control more than 10% of a Sistema Integrato delle Comunicazioni (SIC) – meaning a large TV, radio and publishing outfit, such as Mediaset. Vivendi was held to be disqualified as a result of its stake in Telecom Italia (TIM) and de facto control of that company – something that Vivendi contested.

Vivendi’s alleged control of TIM was subsequently lost as a result of hedge fund Elliott’s gaining control of TIM’s board last May, with the support of minority investors.

Simon Fiduciaria, which holds a 19.19% stake in Mediaset – leaving Vivendi with a 10% holding – has demanded the annulation, through a Milan court, of a proposal for a medium and long-term incentive and long-term incentive plan and authorisation of the Mediaset board of directors to purchase and sell treasury shares to support stock options and other share-based incentive plans. The company has also called on the court to ascertain and declare its right to particulate in shareholders meeting and to exercise all administrative rights inherent in the shares it holds.