Vivendi and Mediaset in move and countermove as merger battle rages on

Mediaset has withdrawn the filing of its Dutch merger project in the Netherlands in the face of the threat of fresh legal action by arch-rival Vivendi and has counterattacked by launching its own lawsuit.

Mediaset said that the French media giant had threatened legal action on the grounds that the merger plan filed by Mediaset on February 5 contained a new supplement that had not been presented to the shareholders of Mediaset or Mediaset España prior to their approval of the creation of the new MediaForEurope holding structure that will house both companies.

While decrying this latest legal move by Vivendi in the long-running battle between the pair as “without foundation”, Mediaset has taken the precaution of withdrawing its filing.

The Italian company said it carry out checks with the Dutch authorities before proceeding with a new filing and maintained that the latest move by Vivendi would not delay the project.

Mediaset has also instructed its lawyers to initiate its own legal action against Vivendi for what it claims are “continuous attempts to delay the [MediaForEurope] project”, and to complain to the “competent authorities” about Vivendi’s behaviour.

The latest move and counter-move in the four years-long war between the French and Italian media outfits comes after a Dutch court rejected an attempt by Vivendi to have the creation of Mediaset’s proposed Dutch-registered holding company for the merged Italian and Spanish units suspended.

The merger plan remains suspended in Spain, where Vivendi recently secured a second court victory confirming an earlier ruling that the agreement should be frozen pending a further ruling later this year.

In addition to the manoeuvrings in the Netherlands, Vivendi last week took separate legal action in Italy to overturn a Milan court’s rejection of its bid to freeze the creation ofMediaForEurope in that jurisdiction.

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