May 13, 2020 / 2:49 PM / 24 days ago

Mediaset CFO says ProSieben important partner but not the only one

FILE PHOTO: The Mediaset tower is seen at the headquarter in Cologno Monzese, near Milan, Italy, April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian broadcaster Mediaset has built a stake in German rival ProSiebenSat.1 Media (PSMGn.DE) because it sees consolidation in the industry as inevitable but it will retain a flexible stance and may consider other partners, CFO Marco Giordani said.

Milan-based Mediaset wants to merge its Italian and Spanish (TL5.MC) businesses into a Dutch entity, dubbed MediaforEurope (MFE), and use this to pursue tie-ups in Europe to take on competition from streaming apps such as Netflix (NFLX.O) and web giants like Google (GOOGL.O).

In emailed comments to Reuters, Giordani said that the group controlled by the family of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was “receiving a lot of interest from investors and other media operators in Europe around our (MFE) project.”

“(ProSieben) may be an important partner for that project but it is not the only one,” he added. Earlier on Wednesday, Giordani had said the group was happy with its 24.2% stake in ProSieben.

He said Mediaset had no plans to appoint a representative to ProSieben’s supervisory board at the German group’s annual general meeting on June 10.

“It is not our style to make aggressive moves or to appear as a hostile shareholder. We will remain at the same time flexible and long term committed to our idea of industrial development,” he said.

“The decision to increase our stake in ProsSieben has been taken from this perspective: consolidation in Europe will happen in any case.”

Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Valentina Za

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