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Vivendi secures full voting rights in Mediaset

Vivendi secured another significant victory in its battle with Mediaset just before Christmas, with the news that the Lazio regional administrative tribunal (TAR) had ruled that it can exercise full voting rights in accordance with its stake in the Italian media group.

The ruling means that Vivendi will be able to give voting instructions for shares currently held in trust by Simon Fiduciaria. Together with the stake that Vivendi holds directly, the French media company has a 29% interest in Mediaset.

The TAR’s decision follows a ruling by the EU Court of Justice last year rejecting the Italian media law that prevented companies from simultaneously holding large stakes in media and telecom companies.

Mediaset aims to appeal the ruling before Italy’s Council of State.

In December, AGCOM, the Italian communications watchdog, opened an inquiry into Vivendi’s stakes in Mediaset and Telecom Italia (TIM) in December That probe itself followed on from the European Court of Justice ruling, after which, the Italian government approved stop-gap legislation – contested by Vivendi as a move designed to circumvent the European ruling – requiring the regulator  to hold an inquiry into whether Vivendi’s positions in the Italian telecoms and media sectors are harmful for media plurality.

The AGCOM investigation had been expected to result in a delay in the TAR ruling. However, the TAR has disregarded a request by the Italian state attorney to postpone its judgement until the conclusion of the probe.