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Vivendi and Mediaset launch defamation suits

French media group Vivendi and Italian broadcaster Mediaset launched lawsuits against each other for defamation yesterday (Tuesday) in the opening day of a court case in Milan, according to the Reuters news agency.

Mediaset, one of the leading sports broadcasters in Italy, is currently seeking damages from Vivendi after it stepped away from an April 2016 agreement to take full control of pay-television broadcaster Mediaset Premium.

Vivendi pulled out of the proposed €800m ($864m) deal last July after claiming that Mediaset Premium's business plan was unrealistic.

On the first day of the trial, Vivendi filed a suit against Mediaset for alleged defamation, without outlining the damages being sought. Mediaset will also seek damages for comments made in the media by Vivendi chief executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine, Reuters added.

Mediaset's controlling shareholder, Fininvest, has filed a claim for damages of €570m against Vivendi for allegedly failing to comply with the terms of the takeover deal for Mediaset Premium.

The ongoing saga comes with Mediaset Premium set to contest rights tenders for domestic Serie A football and the Uefa Champions League, both of which are due to be held in the first half of this year.