MFE lists in Spain as death of Berlusconi prompts rise in share price

MediaForEurope (MFE) has started trading its ordinary shares on the Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia stock exchanges in Spain.

The move, which follows the consolidation and delisting of Mediaset España as a separate company, is described by MFE as the last step of a broader process aimed at strategically and operationally integrating MFE and Mediaset España and creating a pan-European media and entertainment group.

MFE said the move would create a company that had the potential to “acquire a superior competitive dimension and the potential to expand into certain countries throughout Europe”.

MFE acquired 82,9% of the Spanish unit’s shares at the end of a complex and challenging bid in June last year. It subsequently ‘segregated’ its assets and liabilities, including shareholdings in other companies with the exception of its stake in Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1, into subsidiary Grupo Audiovisual Mediaset España Comunicación, ahead of completing a cross-border merger absorbing Mediaset España into MFE on May 3 this year.

Mediaset España’s stake in ProSiebenSat.1, which is separate from MFE’s stake in the German company, remains apart.

MFE is now listed both on the Spanish and Italian Euronext Milan exchanges.

Shares in MFE rose following the death of founder Silvio Berlusconi this week, amid speculation that his passing could pave the way for consolidation and further cross-border mergers.

Investors appear to be calculating that Berlusconi’s heirs may be more open to a potential sale or partnership for the media empire.

Speculation about which of Berlusconi’s children succeed him at the helm of his empire has focused on his daughter Marina, who currently chairs family investment outfit Fininvest. MFE itself is currently led by Berlusconi’s son Pier Silvio.

Both Pier Silvio and Marina hold 8% shares in Fininvest.

Some 21.42% of Fininvest is controlled by investment outfit H14, which is owned in equal shares by three children from Berlusconi’s second marriage: Luigi, Barbara and Eleonora. Luigi sits on the board of Fininvest and Banca Mediolanum and chairs H14. Barbara sits on the board of Fininvest and is managing director of H14.

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