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Mediaset facing ‘uncertain’ 2020 amid coronavirus outbreak

Italian broadcaster Mediaset is preparing for an “uncertain” 2020 amid Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, while also considering its stake in ProSiebenSat.1.

Announcing its annual report, a statement from the broadcaster said that its visibility has diminished significantly in recent weeks due to the Covid-19 emergency” and that “it is not currently possible to make reliable forecasts about the duration or the effects of the emergency on the management and results of the group.”

In lieu of providing financial forecasts, Mediaset said that it is continuing to pursue international development “with determination”, and that it is “putting in place all the necessary measures to contain the eventual negative impact on the advertising market.”

Mediaset also said that the completion of Media For Europe (MFE) – it’s Europe-wide conglomerate – will see benefits from both “synergies and the new opportunities offered by the pan-European scale”.

Overall, the group saw its operating profits increase to €354.6 million for the year, up from €73.5 million in 2018. This came as a result of lowered costs, including on football rights.

Its domestic sales dipped down to €1.98 billion from €2.42 billion while operating costs fell to €1.99 billion from €2.34 billion.

Speaking on a conference call, chief financial officer Marco Giordani said that consolidation is more necessary than ever in the European market. Mediaset increased its stake to 15% in 2019, but Giordano said that the investment had been structured to allow it to leave.

Giordani said that the broadcaster will receive a strategy update next month and that it will then evaluate whether “to stay, to leave or to increase” its investment.

ProSeiben is currently amidst a financial crisis, with a US$500 million investment in dating app developer The Meet Group causing its share price to decline by 40%.