Italian broadcaster reportedly interested in a possible tie-up with incumbent’s biggest shareholder, Vivendi.
Mediaset on Thursday said it is not interested in a deal with Telecom Italia, but it is open to a possible tie-up with its biggest shareholder, French media conglomerate Vivendi.
"If there are opportunities, and will on the part of the French to strike a deal that creates value and growth for Mediaset, then yes" said Pier Silvio Berlusconi, CEO of Mediaset, in a report by La Stampa.
According to Reuters, Mediaset is not interested in a deal involving Telecom Italia though, despite press reports to the contrary earlier this week.
Vivendi brokered a deal to acquire Mediaset’s pay TV arm Mediaset Premium in April, but relations between the parties subsequently soured and the deal was abandoned in October. Amongst other things, Vivendi took issue with Mediaset Premium’s business plan, describing as unrealistic its forecast for reaching breakeven by 2018.
Vivendi raised the stakes in December – literally – by acquiring 28.8% of Mediaset, just below the 30% threshold that would trigger a mandatory takeover offer.
However, such a move would likely fall foul of Italian antitrust regulations designed to prevent one company holding large stakes in both telcos and media companies. Vivendi is Telecom Italia’s biggest single shareholder, controlling 21.9% of the incumbent.
Italian regulator Agcom in December opened an investigation into Vivendi’s Mediaset holding; that investigation is ongoing.