Vivendi welcomes court ruling on Mediaset’s merger plans

A Madrid court has suspended a decision by shareholders of the Spanish arm of Italian broadcaster Mediaset to merge the two entities in a move that French media group Vivendi has claimed as a win.

The court has suspended decisions taken at last month’s extraordinary meeting of Mediaset Espańa shareholders, who voted to approve the merger transaction. The approval was pending a final judgement in a claim lodged by Vivendi, which is an investor in Mediaset.

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. The Bloomberg news agency notes that Vivendi views the move as an effort by the Berlusconi family, which owns Mediaset, to assert control over the French media group.

A spokesman for Vivendi told Bloomberg that the company was satisfied with the court decision and is “confident” that other lawsuits filed in the Italian and Dutch courts will go the same way.

Mediaset Espańa will appeal the ruling, a spokesman for the company told Bloomberg.

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