Vivendi’s offer to limit its voting rights in Mediaset to 9.9 per cent failed to placate the concerns of Italian regulator Agcom, which believes the French media group holds a significant influence on the Italian broadcaster, according to The New York Times.
However, plans to place a 20 per cent stake in Mediaset in a blind trust so the shares can never be used by Vivendi was seen as a good solution, the report added.
Agcom said in April Vivendi must cut its stake in either Mediaset, in which it holds a 28 per cent share, or Telecom Italia within a year, and gave it a deadline of 60 days to present a plan. It is the single largest shareholder in Telecom Italia with a 24 per cent stake and has been tightening its grip on the operator after successfully nominating ten executives to its 15 person board.
The Italian regulator believes Vivendi’s position goes against the country’s strict laws regarding ownership and control in the communication and media sectors.
Vivendi said it was surprised by the decision, and claimed “it is undisputable that Vivendi neither controls nor exercises a dominant influence on Mediaset which is controlled on an exclusive basis by Fininvest with a stake close to 40 per cent”.
In June, it launched legal action against Agcom.