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Vivendi takes action and Mediaset moves to internationalise

Vivendi has taken legal action against Mediaset to assert its shareholder rights following attempts by the Italian broadcaster to block it from participating in shareholder meetings.

Mediaset announced yesterday that it had received a writ of summons from Vivendi via a Milan court requesting the annulation of a resolution approved in April at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting and demanding the right to be registered in the sharholders’ list thanks to its 9.6% holding. Vivendi wants recognition that it is the legitimate owner of the shares it holds and can exercise the rights associated with that.

Vivendi also wants to be able to exercise certain rights related to the 19.9% of Mediaset held by Simon Fiducaria, the outfit in which it placed all shares above a 10% threshold to meet the requirements of Italy’s TUSMAR rule, which holds that companies may not simultaneously hold large stakes in telecommunications and media companies.

According to Vivendi, it should be able to provide voting instructions to Simon Fiducaria  within limits set by Italian law.

Mediaset has long maintained that Vivendi acquired its shareholding in the company ilegitimately. The Italian outfit has made the ase that the French media group sought to manipulate Mediaset’s share price by deliberately agreeing to and then subsequently sabotaging a deal signed in 2016 that would have seen it take over Mediaset’s pay TV arm and acquire a minority stake in Mediaset itself.

Vivendi’s attempt to assert its rights comes ahead of a crucial shareholder meeting in September where Mediaset and its main shareholder, the Berlusconi family’s Fininvest investment vehicle, will attempt to push through a plan to create a new holding company, MediaForEurope, in the Netherlands that will be parent to both Mediaset Italy and Mediaset España.