Mediaset España shareholders approve absorption into MFE

Mediaset España’s shareholders today approved the company’s absorption by MediaForEurope (MFE), the Dutch-based holding company that owns Mediaset in Italy and the company’s stake in the Spanish broadcaster.

The move marks the start of a decisive phase in the Berlusconi family’s long-held ambition to create a pan-European broadcast organisation, with the disappearance of Mediaset España as a separate entity likely to be completed within a month.

The Spanish outfit’s shareholders approved, as an intermediary stage, the placing of the Spanish business in a new company, Grupo Audiovisual Mediaset España (GA Mediaset), headed by Borja Prado as president and Alessandro Salem and Massimo Musolino as co-CEOs.

Dissenting shareholder José Antonio del Barrio Colmanarejo accused the company’s managers of failing to defend the interests of shareholders in the face of what he saw as an undervaluation of the company.

Just ahead of the EGM that approved the merger, MFE announced that it had upped its stake in the Spanish outfit by acquiring a 1.05% stake held by Vivendi.

The French media giant, which had been at loggerheads with Mediaset over the creation of MFE at the tail end of a battle between the pair that lasted several years after Vivendi unilaterally withdrew from a partnership agreement, had not opposed the merger but decided to sell ahead of being able to exercise its withdrawal rights.

The EGM’s approval of the merger followed approval of the process by the boards of MFE and Mediaset España in January. That came a years after MFE failed to reach a crucial 90% threshold of ownership during a takeover bid for the 44.3% of the company that it did not already control. MFE managed to secure only 82.92% of the company’s shares in the face of opposition from some shareholders.

MFE has committed to maintaining operations and production activities in both Italy and Spain.

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