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Mediaset accepts Simon Fiducaria demand for inclusion

Italian broadcaster Mediaset has accepted a demand by shareholder Simon Fiducaria to be included in the special list of shareholders that qualify for double voting rights, subject to the outcome of a judicial process initiated by Simon.

Mediaset shareholder Vivendi placed all of its holding in the broadcaster above a 10% threshold in Simon Fiducaria to meet regulatory requirements. Mediaset has strongly resisted recognising Simon Fiducaria as an independent shareholder until now, arguing that it is a mere proxy for Vivendi.

The latest concession relating to Simon’s 19.19% stake follows a similar concession in relation to the 9.6% held directly by Vivendi. Last week Mediaset accepted Vivendi’s request to have the 9.6% stake in holds in its own right registered, subject to a court ruling in Vivendi’s favour.

The special list gives long-term shareholders – meaning those who have held shares consistently for over 24 months – double voting rights, a move intended to strengthen the Berlusconi family’s investment vehicle, Fininvest, Mediaset’s major shareholder.

The company introduced double voting rights in April in a move opposed by Vivendi. Mediaset has until now maintained that Vivendi acquired its shares in the group illicitly after deliberately undermining Mediaset following the French group’s decision to renege on a 2016 deal that would have seen it acquire Mediaset’s pay TV arm and acquire a minority stake in the broadcaster itself.

Vivendi, which has been constantly at loggerheads with Mediaset since the Mediaset Premium deal fell apart, has strongly opposed Mediaset’s move to create a new combined Netherlands-based entity comprising the Italian broadcast operation and Mediaset España, a separately listed company.