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Mediaset bars Simon Fiduciaria from EGM after court rules against Vivendi

Mediaset has barred Simon Fiduciaria, holder of a 19.19% stake in the company, from attending a crucial EGM today after the Lazio regional administrative court (TAR) rejected an appeal by Vivendi to overturn Italian regulator AGCOM’s ruling preventing it from exercising voting rights held in trust through the outfit.

Mediaset said that its board and legal advisors had reviewed the contract signed between Vivendi and the Italian media group in 2016 for the sale of Mediaset Premium to Vivendi, leading it to reiterate its view that Vivendi’s subsequent purchase of shares in Mediaset itself was in violation of obligations it had signed up to.

The Italian group said it would abide by a Milan court ruling from last August and allow Vivendi to exercise voting rights for the 9.6% stake it holds directly but would bar Simon Fiduciaria from attending the meeting and voting.

The Lazio TAR ruling opened the way for a further re-evaluation in the event of a ruling on the case by the EU Court of Justice, but specified that the recent pronouncement by The EU Advocate General that the law that allowed Mediaset to block voting by Simon Fiduciaria was in breach of EU rules was not in itself legally binding.

Mediaset’s EGM today is set to vote on rule changes demanded by an Italian court to the articles of association of its planned European holding company, MediaForEurope, which will house Mediaset’s merged Italian and Spanish businesses.

Vivendi has opposed the merger. The French and Italian media outfits came close to striking a deal in December that could have led to a resolution of the conflict, with Vivendi agreeing to sell the Simon Fiduciaria stake and both companies ending outstanding lawsuits against each other. However, the pair failed to agree on the price Mediaset would pay for the stake.