PARIS France's Vivendi (VIV.PA) does not plan at this stage to make an unsolicited bid for the whole of Mediaset (MS.MI), one source close to the matter said on Tuesday.
"Vivendi prefers to go with a soft approach for now but if there is no way to discuss, we'll have to reassess at this point," the source said.
A hostile takeover is not on the agenda "today" and the goal as for now is to strengthen Vivendi's position in Mediaset and resume talks with the controlling Berlusconi family, the source added, as the two groups are in the middle of a legal spat after Vivendi walked out of an initial deal with Mediaset that included the acquisition of its Premium pay-TV.
The French media giant said on Monday it could buy as much as 20 percent of the Italian broadcaster after purchasing just over 3 percent as part of efforts to expand in southern Europe.
Vivendi said it planned to continue buying into Mediaset to become its second largest shareholder if possible, which could mean acquiring between 10 to 20 percent of the Italian firm.
A Vivendi spokesman declined to comment beyond reiterating the terms of the group's statement as made on Monday.
(Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Andrew Callus and Sudip Kar-Gupta)