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ProSieben approaches talk of Mediaset merger ‘with an open mind’

Rainer Beaujean

ProSiebenSat.1 will not rule out the possibility of a merger, CEO Rainer Beaujean has told investors.

There has been mounting interest in the German broadcaster from Mediaset which wants to improve on its 12.4% voting stake of ProSieben – with that being topped up to 23.5% via shares and other financial instruments. Following a truce with Vivendi, Mediaset is looking to ramp up its plans for a pan European group based in the Netherlands dubbed MediaForEurope. ProSieben would serve to bring about cross-border consolidation, with chief financial officer Marco Giordani telling Reuters that Mediaset “would love to have more engagement.”

In response, Beaujean said that while the company “does not need any help from outside” it will “not close our minds to any reasonable idea.”

Speaking at the company’s AGM, he added: “We will not close our minds to any reasonable idea. If we are asked to enter into strategic talks, we will of course listen to the proposal with an open mind and check whether it not only makes sense for the other party but is also advantageous for ProSiebenSat.1 and all our stakeholders.”

The CEO did however rebuff the possible financial benefits of a merger, saying that it is “almost impossible to achieve” cost synergies with such cross-border consolidations.

Mediaset’s plans are proposed to give European media groups a fighting chance against the big-budget US streaming players like Netflix and Disney. 

The Italian group has also recently relaunched its Infinity streaming service. The new-look service features Mediaset’s free-to-air channels, movies and series on-demand along with UEFA Champions League football.