MFE seeking to take ProSiebenSat.1 stake beyond 25%

MediaForEurope (MFE), formerly known as Mediaset, has sought the German competition watchdog’s permission to raise its stake in ProSiebenSat.1 beyond the 25% threshold that requires authorisation. MFE current holds a 23.9% stake in the German broadcaster, including 21% of the voting rights.

The move comes ahead of ProSiebenSat.1’s AGM on May 5 and follows a period of some tension between the pair over MFE’s stake. Reuters reported last month that ProSiebenSat.1 hoped to hold talks with MFE over the latter’s concern with management changes that saw the extension of CEO Rainer Beaujean’s contract and the proposed appointment of Andreas Wiele, formerly of Axel Springer, as its chairman, replacing Werner Brand.

MFE said at the time it reserved the right to nominate its own candidates for the ProSiebenSat.1 supervisory board at the forthcoming AGM.

Beaujean is known to be sceptical about cross-border media mergers and has overseen a strategy whereby ProSiebenSat.1 has doubled down on its focus in the German market.

MFE on the other hand has consistently pushed the idea that cross-border media mergers make sense in an era when the global media business is increasingly dominated by large US corporations.

Beaujean last week poured cold water on speculation about a possible merger between ProSiebenSat.1 and rival German broadcaster RTL.

The CEO argued in a press briefing following the company publishing its annual results that his group did not need such a merger to succeed commercially, and that German competition law would not permit a combination of this type.

He also said that the two groups differed culturally and that he believed that RTL’s strategy of investing in programming for paid streaming services was the wrong approach.

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