BRUSSELS Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Thursday he considers Mediaset (MS.MI) and the telecommunications sector as important and will monitor it against hostile takeovers, but this should not be interpreted as an undue interference.
Earlier on Thursday France's Vivendi SA (VIV.PA) said it had reached its initial goal of amassing a 20 percent stake in Mediaset, Italy's biggest private broadcaster.
"To consider a sector as important does not mean to interfere, unless it is one of those cases when you can use a golden share," Gentiloni told a news conference in Brussels after a regular European Union summit, the first he attended as Italy's prime minister.
He said he did not discuss the issue with France's President Francois Hollande at the summit, and added that the government is not forbidding any action, as it is a legal matter on which it cannot decide, but will continue to monitor Vivendi's moves.
Asked whether the government was paying more attention to Mediaset than it did to Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) when the telephone group was raided by foreign investors, Gentiloni said that "the government has always followed very closely Telecom Italia's issues".
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)