Italy’s communications authority Agcom said it is still investigating a potential takeover of broadcaster Mediaset by France-headquartered Vivendi in a statement which appears to rebuff media reports stating the regulator considered the deal unacceptable.
Last month, Vivendi said it would look to raise its stake in Mediaset to 30 per cent, opening up the potential to couple with Telecom Italia and wield greater influence in the country’s content market. Under Italian law, this is the maximum legal threshold before an investor is required to launch a takeover offer.
However, the country’s laws do not allow firms to hold an excessive share in both the telecommunications and media markets. Vivendi is the second largest shareholder of Mediaset, with a stake of 28.8 per cent, and also the top shareholder in Telecom Italia (24.9 per cent stake).
According to la Repubblica, four Agcom commissioners agreed a move by Vivendi was “invalid”, but would communicate this to Italy’s market watchdog only if Vivendi made a bid.
Both firms will have to present Agcom with documentation for the investigation by 21 January, the report added.
Agcom opened an investigation into Vivendi in late December, following a complaint by Mediaset.
The statement on Agcom’s website said an investigation will be concluded within 120 days and could be extended by a further 60 days.
Vivendi previously stated its Mediaset equity holding “is in line with the groups’ intentions to develop its activities in Southern Europe and its strategic ambitions as a major international, European-based media and content group.”