MediaForEurope (MFE), the cross-border broadcast group formerly known as Mediaset, has upped its stake in ProSiebenSat.1 beyond the 25% mark that will give it a blocking vote at the German media group’s forthcoming AGM and has admitted that it is looking to up its hold on Mediaset España.
MFE said yesterday that “directly and indirectly, has crossed the threshold of 25% of secured voting rights of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE through purchases of shares on the market”.
Separately, MFE said that, “among a number of operations under examination, a study is also being made of the strategy regarding the stake held in Mediaset España, S.A. for which the company today intends to call a meeting of the Board of Directors”. The board meeting is set to be held today.
The announcement on Spain followed reports in the press, initially from Bloomberg, that MFE was set on acquiring the 44% of the Spanish broadcaster that it does not already own.
Spanish markets regulator the CNMC briefly suspended trading of Mediaset España’s shares, the price of which surged on the news.
Mediaset had tried to consolidate the Spanish operation previously, but that attempt was blocked by a Spanish judge in 2019 after legal moves to head off the consolidation play by Vivendi.
The moves both in Germany and Spain are the latest indication of MFE’s determination to proceed with plans for cross-border media consolidation at the European level to take on the might of US media and tech giants.
MFE’s plans have been met with a cool response by ProSiebenSat.1’s existing management. CEO Rainer Beaujean has consistently expressed scepticism about the value of cross-border media consolidation and has doubled down on a German market-focused strategy for the broadcaster.
MFE’s upping of its stake in ProSiebenSat.1 opens the way for a possible clash over supervisory board appointments at the latter’s forthcoming AGM.