MILAN Italy's Mediaset has asked the French stock market regulator to force Vivendi to amend some statements it has made about a pay-TV deal which the French firm pulled out of, according to a source close to the matter.
Broadcaster Mediaset, owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is suing Vivendi for damages after it backed away from the deal. Vivendi said the financial forecasts of the unit, provided by Mediaset, were overly optimistic.
Mediaset has, according to the source, sent a letter to the French regulator AMF asking it to force Vivendi to amend statements about the deal to buy its Premium unit, made in Vivendi in its first-half financial report.
In the report, Vivendi, led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, said the initial agreement with Mediaset was subject to due diligence, a claim that Mediaset has said is incorrect.
Vivendi declined to comment. An AMF spokeswoman confirmed it had received a letter from Mediaset, but refused to comment on its content or on what the watchdog planned to do, beyond saying that the AMF had no power to settle commercial disputes.
Mediaset is suing Vivendi for damages in a court case whose first hearing is currently scheduled for February 2017. The source said Mediaset was considering asking an Italian court to fast-track the lawsuit.
Vivendi said in July it no longer wanted the whole pay-TV unit but only a 20 percent stake, and that it intended to acquire around 15 percent of Mediaset in the next three years.
The original deal handed the two companies a 3.5 percent stake in each other.
The French group says that agreement, signed in April, would in any case be void after Sept. 30, citing the initial regulatory calendar to obtain clearance from the European Commission. Mediaset disputes this.
Despite the harsh rhetoric, the two sides are negotiating behind closed doors to forge an alternative partnership, sources close to the matter have told Reuters.
(additional reporting by Gwénaëlle Barzic in Paris, writing by Silvia Aloisi, editing by Paola Arosio and Elaine Hardcastle)