Vivendi Strikes Courtroom Blow to Mediaset’s Alliance Plan
(Bloomberg) -- Mediaset SpA’s bid to create a European broadcasting alliance suffered a blow when a court suspended a decision by shareholders in its Spanish affiliate to approve the plan, boosting shareholder Vivendi SA’s drive to prevent the tie-up.
A commercial court in Madrid suspended the decisions taken at the Sept. 4 extraordinary meeting of Mediaset Espana SA shareholders pending a final judgment in a claim lodged by Vivendi, Mediaset Espana said in a regulatory filing Friday.
The Milan-based broadcaster, backed by the family of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, won investor approval to combine its Spanish and Italian businesses into a Dutch holding company known as Media for Europe. MFE aims to consolidate the continent’s patchwork of competing streaming platforms into a single entity that can compete against the likes of Netflix Inc.
Vivendi views the MFE strategy as a Berlusconi family effort to cement control over the company. In the wake of the vote result, the company pledged legal action, and is also bringing cases in Italian and Dutch courts.
A spokesman for the French company said Friday it is satisfied with the court decision and is confident its other lawsuits will go the same way.
Mediaset Espana disagrees with the ruling and will immediately appeal it, a spokesman for the company said. Mediaset spokesmen weren’t immediately available to comment.
Shares of Mediaset Espana erased earlier gains and dropped as much as 2.8% in Madrid trading following the regulatory filing. Mediaset and Vivendi were little changed.
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