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Vivendi slams Mediaset internationalisation plan

Vivendi has explicitly criticised Mediaset’s plans to combine its Italian and Spanish units in a single Netherlands-based company as the foundation for the creation of a pan-European broadcast outfit.

Vivendi, which directly holds a 9.6% stake in Mediaset and a further 19.9% through Simon Fiducaria, in which it was forced to vest the shares to comply with Italian regulatory requirements, said that the price offered to shareholders that wish to exercise their withdrawal rights is too low and contrary to the interest of minority shareholders.

A Vivendi spokesperson, cited by Reuters, said that the company “denounces the real objective of Mediaset” which is to “overturn the fundamental principles of shareholder democracy”.

The intervention comes after Vivendi moved to take legal action against Mediaset to assert its shareholder rights following attempts by the Italian broadcaster to block it from participating in shareholder meetings.

Mediaset revealed last week that it had received a writ of summons from the French media giant 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 shareholders’ 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.

The media outfit also wants to be able to exercise certain rights related to the 19.9% of Mediaset held by Simon Fiducaria, the group 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.