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Mediaset strikes deal to fend off Vivendi’s withdrawal risk

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Via Reuters Finance

FILE PHOTO: The Mediaset tower is seen in Cologno Monzese neighbourhood Milan, Italy, April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

MILAN (Reuters) – Mediaset (MS.MI) had reached an agreement with an investor to facilitate its plan to create a pan-European platform, the company said on Thursday, in a move to offset any potential attempt to derail the deal from hostile shareholder Vivendi.

Earlier this month Mediaset’s shareholders backed a plan to create a pan-European media group, dubbed MediaforEurope (MFE), merging its Italian and Spanish businesses under a new Dutch holding, fending off opposition from its second biggest shareholder Vivendi (VIV.PA).

But Vivendi, locked in a legal battle with the Italian broadcaster, could still scupper the deal should it decide to exercise its right to withdraw.

The corporate overhaul is conditional on no more than 180 million euros being spent to mop up the shares of investors who head for the door – well below the value of Vivendi’s 29% stake.

Mediaset said in a statement that investment firm Peninsula holding would, at the broadcaster’s request, buy up to 355 million shares of the new MFE entity at a discount price to the withdrawal price.

Two sources with knowledge of the matter said that Peninsula intervention could entirely absorb Vivendi’s decision to exercise the withdrawal.

The French conglomerate, which has not made clear its intentions, has until Sept.21 to make up its mind on the withdrawal.

Vivendi declined to comment.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama


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