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Vivendi secures Spanish court victory in battle with Mediaset

Vivendi has secured a victory in its battle to stop Mediaset’s plan to create a new Europe-wide holding company merging the Italian broadcaster with Mediaset España, with a Spanish court making a preliminary ruling suspending the process.

The commercial court in Madrid has suspended the decisions taken at the Mediaset España extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on September 4, in which Mediaset Espana shareholders voted to approve the transaction.

Mediaset España said it “deeply disagrees with this preliminary ruling, and accordingly it will immediately appeal it hoping that it will be revered by the High Court of Madrid”.

The broadcaster said: “The rationale supporting Mediaset España are, in the view of the Company, very solid and endorse the legal, economic and business reasonability of the corporate resolutions having been challenged.”

Vivendi has welcomed the ruling. A company spokesperson said: “Vivendi is satisfied with the decision issued by the judge of the Madrid Court today.The judge has acknowledged that the planned merger was imposed in an abusive manner by Mediaset and its controlling shareholder Fininvest to the detriment of all minority shareholders and that it does not respond to a reasonable business need for Mediaset España. Vivendi has also challenged the merger resolutions adopted in The Netherlands and Italy to demonstrate that the merger plan is unlawful also under those jurisdictions.”

According to local reports, citing the judgement, the Spanish court accepted Vivendi’s argument that the share structure of the planned Dutch-registered MediaForEurope holding company was conceived to promote the interests of Berlusconi investment vehicle Fininvest and prejudice those of Vivendi.