Mediaset’s merger decision pushed back to September by Dutch court

The Dutch court hearing Vivendi’s appeal against an earlier judgement that rejected the French media group’s call for a suspension of Mediaset’s plans to create a merged European media entity based in the Netherlands has pushed back its final ruling until September 1.

The court move further frustrates Mediaset’s ambition of closing the merger of its Italian and Spanish units under the Dutch-registered MediaForEurope holding company.

Vivendi had filed a petition in January that was subsequently rejected and then appealed against the Amsterdam court’s decision.

Vivendi said in March that the merger plan filed in the Netherlands 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, forcing Mediaset to withdraw its filing for the project.

Mediaset said that the latest delay would not derail its plans to create the new holding company and see through the merger of the Italian and Spanish units.

“Despite this new slowdown, the work of a prejudicially hostile shareholder that has caused damage to all other shareholders and employees of the companies involved, Mediaset is confident of the establishment of MFE-MediaForEurope within the foreseen time and deadline,” the company said.

In order to take the merger process forward, Mediaset also needs a reversal of the freezing of the agreement by a court in Madrid. A decision by the Spanish court is expected imminently.

Vivendi has been engaged in a legal campaign on multiple fronts to stop Mediaset from merging the two companies and creating MediaForEurope.

Last week the Lazio Regional Administrative court in Italy rejected Vivendi’s appeal against Italian regulator AGCOM’s decision not to allow it to exercise voting rights for its entire stake in Mediaset, the bulk of which has been put in trust to comply with Italy’s controversial TUSMAR rule that prevents enterprises from simultaneously holding large stakes in media and telecom companies.

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