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Vivendi chief hopeful of resolution to Mediaset dispute

Vivendi remains hopeful that it can salvage an agreement with Italian broadcaster Mediaset over a disputed pay-television deal, according to the French media company’s chief executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine.

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

“We are optimistic about Mediaset. Perhaps we will find a solution,” Puyfontaine said after attending a board meeting of telecommunications group Telecom Italia, of which Vivendi is a major shareholder.

The Reuters news agency said Puyfontaine declined to comment on a possible new proposal from the French group to Mediaset.

Fininvest, the parent company of Mediaset, in August filed a claim for damages of €570m ($637.3m) against Vivendi for allegedly failing to comply with the terms of the takeover deal for Mediaset Premium.

Mediaset had earlier asked a Milan court to force Vivendi to fulfil its contract and pay damages of €50m per month, starting from July 25, in a separate claim.

Under the original deal, Vivendi was set to acquire 100 per cent of Mediaset Premium, with both companies taking a 3.5-per-cent stake in each other. Vivendi made a revised offer to sell a 3.5-per-cent stake in its business in exchange for a 20-per-cent shareholding in Mediaset Premium and a 3.5-per-cent stake in Mediaset, but this was rejected by Mediaset at the end of July.