French media conglomerate Vivendi and Italian rival Mediaset have agreed to bury the hatchet in their long-standing legal battle over failed plans to build the European response to US streaming giant Netflix, the two said. groups.
The quarrel had pitted two European heavyweights against each other: Mediaset is controlled by the family of the flamboyant former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and their financial holding Fininvest while the billionaire chief of Vivendi is the first French company raider Vincent Bolloré.
“Vivendi, Fininvest and Mediaset are pleased to announce that they have reached a comprehensive agreement to end their disputes by waiving all disputes and claims between them,” the companies said in a joint statement on Monday evening.
Under the terms of their partnership project, Vivendi, parent company of the French television channel Canal +, was to acquire the entire Premium pay-TV channel from Mediaset.
But Vivendi claimed he was misled about the real value of Mediaset Premium and tore up the deal, and instead took a 28.8% stake in Mediaset in a move that the Italian government and the Berlusconi family hostile judge.
As a result, Mediaset and Fininvest sued Vivendi for € 3.0 billion in damages in June 2017.
The Vivendi acquisition also encountered problems with the Italian telecoms regulator which said the French group had violated media ownership rules and ordered it to reduce its stake.
However, last September, the European Court of Justice ruled that the Italian regulator’s decision was against EU law and that the complex limits on the market share a company can control did not guarantee media plurality. .
Then in April this year, a Milan court ordered Vivendi to pay Mediaset € 1.7 billion in damages.
As part of their new truce, Vivendi declared that it had “undertaken to sell on the stock market, over a period of five years, (its) entire 19.19% of the capital of Mediaset held” via an independent subsidiary. called Simon Fiduciaria.
Vivendi will also abandon its resistance to Mediaset’s plan to move its head office to the Netherlands, where it wanted to combine its Italian and Spanish activities and its 15.1% stake in the German group ProSiebenSAT1 in a Dutch legal entity called MFE (Media For Europe).
In addition, Vivendi and Mediaset have declared that they have entered into a good neighborly agreement on free-to-air television and standstill commitments for a period of five years.
© 2021 AFP