Vivendi to face regulatory investigation as country rebalances media laws
French media company Vivendi, which owns major stakes in both TIM and broadcaster Mediaset could be facing an assets investigation from Italian regulator AGCOM, according to a report by Reuters.
The story started in earnest in 2017, when AGCOM ruled that two-third of Vivendi’s voting rights in Mediaset should be transferred into a passive trust, in an effort to limit Vivendi’s power across both communications and media sectors. The ruling left the company unable to vote at Mediaset shareholders meetings, leading Vivendi to complain to the EU.
In September this year, the EU ruled in favour of Vivendi, arguing that the law violated their rights under EU law.
As a result, the Italian government last month quickly drafted a new law on media plurality, still seeking to crack down on major consolidations of power in the communications and media sectors. The new law will require AGCOM to undertake a detailed investigation of Vivendi’s assets, while the sector awaits the ratification of the legislature. According to sources, this investigation could start as early as December 14th.
Meanwhile, Vivendi is also fighting to regain its voting rights in Mediaset, with an initial court hearing scheduled for next week. Ultimately, however, the chances of removing these limitations until the AGCOM probe is complete are likely slim.
The news of this investigation will be music to Mediaset’s ears, since the company considers Vivendi’s stake in the company as hostile.
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