Time running out for Mediaset and Vivendi with no deal in sight

Mediaset and Vivendi are struggling to come to a deal over their long-standing legal battle.

According to four Reuters sources, the companies have so far failed to reach any agreements that would allow them to drop a number of pending lawsuits with a deadline looming. 

The companies are due in court on November 22, following the decision from the Court of Milan to postpone the hearing.

Vivendi, which currently holds a 29% stake in Mediaset, is opposed to the latter’s plans to create a Europe-wide company called MediaForEurope (MFE). MFE is Mediaset’s attempt to combat the rising influence of large international companies like Netflix in the European market.

Vivendi has argued that the move is motivated by the interests of the Berlusconi family’s Finivest holding company. The main areas of contention are articles 42 and 43 of the new outfit’s articles of association that determine shareholder obligations and set the mandatory takeover threshold, which Vivendi maintains are intended to cement the Berlusconi family’s control of the new company.

It had previously been reported that Vivendi was ready to reduce its stake in Mediaset in order to drop the dispute, but now sources indicate that the price at which Vivendi could sell its shares still remains an issue.

The report says that Mediaset offered to buy back the shares at €2.77 each, but this price would leave Vivendi facing a loss of 25% compared to what it paid for them in 2016.

In spite of all this, one source said that “a last minute deal remains a possibility.”

Relations between Vivendi and Mediaset soured in 2016, when the former withdrew from an €800 million agreement to buy the latter’s loss-making pay TV unit.

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