Mediaset becomes MFE-MediaForEurope

Mediaset’s board have approved the company’s change of name to MFE-MediaForEurope NV along with the introduction of a dual-class share structure and authorisation for the issue of new shares.

The change of name is effective immediately.

“We are extremely satisfied with these two important steps: the creation of MFE-MediaForEurope N.V. in the Netherlands and the introduction of a two-tier shareholder structure. These measures and our excellent busines results give us the possibility of looking to the future also with a view to international development,” said the company’s CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi.

Mediaset has styled the changes as a step towards creating a new pan-European media group. The new share structure will give additional voting rights of the holders of B shares, and will give core shareholders including Fininveset, the investment vehicle of the Berlusconi family, greater flexibility in pushing new mergers and acquisitions while avoiding dilution of their voting rights. The board also approved authorisation for the issue of new ordinary A shares.

The approval of the changes follows a decision by shareholder Vivendi, which has long been at loggerheads with Mediaset’s management, to approve the changes.

Vivendi agreed to sell all the shares it holds through proxy Simon Fiduciaria – a legacy of an Italian media law that forbade companies to simultaneously hold large stakes in media and telecom companies – within five years, leaving it with a direct stake that carries 4.8% of the voting rights. Fininvest holds a majority 51% stake in the group.

The agreement struck between the pair set a minimu price for the shares to be sold with no difference in value between A and B shares.

MFE’s immediate goals remain uncertain. The company has ruled out consolidation of Mediaset España – seen by many as the most obvious starting point – in the short term. Mediaset – now MFE –remains a minority investor in Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1.

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