PARIS/MILAN (Reuters) - Vivendi’s (VIV.PA) Chief Executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine will meet Italian financial markets regulator Consob in Rome on Friday following complaints over the French media group’s stakebuilding in TV broadcaster Mediaset (MS.MI), said two sources close to the matter.
Since revealing it held a 3 percent stake in Mediaset last week Vivendi has rapidly increased its shareholding, becoming the group’s second biggest investor after former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s family.
Vivendi, led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, said on Tuesday that it now owned a 25.75 percent stake in Mediaset, giving it 26.77 percent of the voting rights.
Berlusconi’s Fininvest family holding company, which owns a 38.3 percent stake in Mediaset, filed a complaint with Consob on Monday alleging market abuse and last week it lodged a criminal complaint alleging market manipulation.
In the meeting with de Puyfontaine Consob will reconstruct the share price movements, the source said, adding that the market authority could also meet with representatives from Fininvest and Mediaset.
The other source said that Vivendi’s chief executive would confirm that the French group has built up its stake in the last week following all existing market rules.
The source added that the French media giant still remains hopeful of resuming talks with Mediaset, given that Italy is a key country for Vivendi’s long-term strategy in South Europe.
Acquiring stakes in Mediaset fits in with Vivendi’s broader strategy of creating a southern European media and content conglomerate to compete with the likes of Rupert Murdoch’s Sky (SKYB.L) and video-streaming giant Netflix (NFLX.O).
Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris, Giancarlo Navach in Milan; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Greg Mahlich