Vivendi backtracks on pay-TV deal with Italy's Mediaset

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

French media group Vivendi backtracked on Tuesday on a share-swap deal to buy the pay-TV unit of Mediaset, putting forward an alternative agreement that would give it a direct stake in the Italian broadcaster.

Mediaset said in a statement that Vivendi no longer wanted all of its pay-TV division Premium, as agreed in April, but proposed to buy only 20 percent.

It added the French group wanted to acquire around 15 per cent of Mediaset shares in the next three years through a convertible bond.

"We're confident that there's a potential for a new deal," a spokesman for Vivendi said.

Disagreements over the deal's conditions arose last Thursday when Mediaset Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi met Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bollore, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Bollore asked for a discount on the price of the deal as he believed Mediaset Premium was not worth the original value stipulated in the deal, the source said.

The share-based deal had valued Mediaset Premium at 800 million euros ($912 million), with the two companies taking a 3.5 percent stake in each other.

Vivendi Chief Executive Officer Arnaud de Puyfontaine sent a letter to Mediaset on June 21, informing its management that there were "significant differences in the analysis of its subsidiary's Mediaset Premium results".

There were notable differences in forecasts for Mediaset Premium's performance from 2016-2018, the Vivendi spokesman said.

Vivendi said that it still aimed for a "major strategic alliance" with Mediaset and Mediaset Premium.


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