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Italian court hearing pushed back as Vivendi acts on exclusion of Simon Fiduciaria from EGM

The Milan court considering Vivendi’s case against Mediaset over the latter’s plans to create a new pan-European holding company housing its merged Italian and Spanish arms has pushed back its hearing to February 1 after the French media giant took further legal action to have the resolutions voted for at Mediaset’s recent EGM suspended.

Vivendi has called for suspension of the execution of the resolutions on the articles of association of the new company until a legal judgement is reached and, potentially, for the suspension of to be extended until the conclusion of judgements pending before the European Court of Justice and the Lazio regional administrative court (TAR).

Vivendi has argued that the resolutions passed at the meeting are invalid because Simon Fiduciaria, the company that holds the bulk of its stake in the Italian media outfit in trust, was prevented from participating and voting.

Vivendi is also claiming compensation for damages over what it sees as Mediaset’s unlawful conduct.

The Milan court was scheduled to hear the case yesterday.

Vivendi has previously accused Mediaset of an “unlawful refusal” to allow Simon Fiduciaria, which holds a 19.19% stake in the Italian company, to vote in the crucial EGM on January 10 and said the Mediaset board has placed the company in “a situation of serious legal uncertainty” after ignoring an opinion on the case from the EU Court of Justice’s advocate general.

The shareholders meeting approved some modifications in the articles of association of MediaForEurope, the holding company Mediaset wants to create to house its merged Italian and Spanish operations, to which Vivendi has strongly objected.

The Italian media group barred Simon Fiduciaria from attending after the Lazio 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.

The TAR ruling however 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.