Mediaset: Vivendi advances, Fininvest stages a counter-attack
by Camillo De Marco
- The group run by Vincent Bolloré increases its holding to over 12%, aiming for 20%, whilst the Berlusconi family increases its stake and presses charges against Vivendi for manipulating the market
A new chapter has opened up in the conflict between Vivendi and Fininvest over the control of Mediaset. On Monday the French group announced that it holds 3% of capital and has since quadrupled its holding to 12.32%, causing shares in the Berlusconi family’s group to soar: Mediaset shares have increased in value by 31.8% on the Italian stock market.
In Paris, the purchase of the shares was declared “non hostile”, but Fininvest is already staging a counter-attack to what it considers to be a takeover bid by the group headed up by Vincent Bolloré. Indeed, rumour has it on the market that Vivendi is aiming to acquire an objective 20% share through intermediaries. Fininvest has announced that it has increased its holding in Mediaset to €39,775 of voting right capital, purchasing shares representing 3.5% of the entire capital stock. Fininvest’s share of the entire capital stock now stands at €38,266. Moreover, the Berlusconi family has filed a complaint with the Courts and the Stock Exchange Supervisory Committee against Vivendi for manipulation of the market, arguing that it has a clear strategy initiated last April with the agreement to take over 100% of Mediaset Premium and an exchange with Fininvest of 3.5% of capital in their respective companies. This agreement was then broken off suddenly in July (see article).
A report by Mediobanca, the main Italian business bank, states: “This is just the first chapter in a new story. A group like Mediaset, the leader in commercial television in Italy and Spain, with a strong content production capacity and a well-established pay-TV business, is a game changing asset for anyone wanting to create a multimedia platform, with a strong emphasis on Southern Europe”.
(Translated from Italian)