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Vivendi to challenge Mediaset merger plans in Milan court

French media group Vivendi has filed a preliminary injunction in Italy against broadcaster Mediaset’s plans to merge its Italian and Spanish businesses.

The move comes just days after a Madrid court suspended a decision taken at last month’s extraordinary meeting of Mediaset Espańa shareholders to approve the merger. The approval was pending a final judgement in a claim lodged by Vivendi, which is an investor in Mediaset.

In September, Mediaset was last month granted approval to merge its Spanish and Italian operations into a Dutch holding company that would be known as Media for Europe. However, Vivendi believes the merger would allow the Berlusconi family, which owns Mediaset, to assert control over the French media group.

Mediaset confirmed that a hearing on Vivendi’s summary proceedings against Mediaset’s merger plans has been scheduled for October 30 in Milan.

However, the broadcaster added that Vivendi had dropped a case filed against the proposals in an Amsterdam court.

A spokesman for Vivendi said last week that it was “confident” it would be successful in other lawsuits filed against the merger following the decision by a Madrid court.

Earlier this month, Mediaset posted increased profits and reduced revenues for the first six months of 2019 on the back of its first season without Uefa Champions League rights. Total gross advertising revenues fell by 10.4 per cent to €985.2m ($1.09bn) in the first half of this year, from €1.1bn in the first six months of 2018.