Mediaset and the French telecommunications company Vivendi have reached an agreement to put an end to the disputes that have been going on for five years between the two companies. In 2016 Vivendi had attempted a hostile takeover to buy Mediaset, but the firm opposition of the Italian company, through various legal disputes, had blocked this attempt, leaving Vivendi a minority stake.
Under the agreement, the increased voting mechanism will be abolished (disputed by Vivendi because it rewarded Mediaset by giving the Italian company double the votes in the shareholders’ meeting as it has held shares for more than 24 months) and Vivendi will vote in favor of the transfer of the Mediaset registered office in the Netherlands.
Vivendi also undertakes to sell the entire 19.19% stake in Mediaset held by its Simon Fiduciaria, over a period of 5 years. Fininvest, the holding of the Berlusconi family which holds 44% of Mediaset shares, will have the right of first refusal on unsold shares. Fininvest will also acquire 5% of the shares held directly by Vivendi, which will have a residual stake of 4.61%. The conclusion of the agreement is scheduled for July 22, 2021.
Vivendi, owned by the French entrepreneur Vincent Bolloré, had tried to take over Mediaset at the end of 2016. Between 2015 and 2016 it had quickly bought 24.9 percent of Telecom Italia, gaining de facto control. At the end of 2016 he then made an agreement with Mediaset to buy Mediaset Premium (the Mediaset platform for pay TV content), but retired at the last minute because he was wary of the company’s growth estimates (Mediaset Premium then closed), and moving its interests from Premium to Mediaset itself, of which it had bought 28.8 percent on the stock exchange (equal to 29.94 percent of the voting rights) in a short time.
To stop the unwanted takeover, the leaders of Mediaset had denounced Vivendi to AGCOM accusing her of having violated the Gasparri law, which prohibits a company with a 40% higher market share in the telecommunications sector (in this case, TIM ) to hold at the same time a higher than 10 per cent in the mass media (Mediaset).
In 2017, AGCOM accepted the request, requiring Vivendi to downsize its dominant position. The company had obeyed, transferring 19.19 per cent of the Mediaset shares in its possession to Simon Fiduciaria (a third company that holds them in his stead), but at the same time appealing to the Administrative Court of Lazio, which had consulted the Court on the matter. of European justice. Last September, the Court ruled that AGCOM’s resolution was contrary to EU law, proving Vivendi right.