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Elvira Pollina

Happy ending still elusive in Italian broadband drama: sources

17 Jan 2020

MILAN Telecom Italia's efforts to recruit investors to help it to create a national broadband champion with Open Fiber have stalled, sources close to the matter say, as it is proving hard to hammer out a deal structure.

Mediaset approves changes to keep pan-European TV plan afloat

10 Jan 2020

MILAN Italy's Mediaset on Friday won shareholder approval for governance tweaks needed to smooth a pan-European expansion plan despite opposition from its second-biggest investor Vivendi, which is fighting the project in court.

Mediaset seeks shareholder approval to ease pan-European plan

10 Jan 2020

By Elvira Pollina MILAN, Jan 10 Italy's biggest commercial broadcaster Mediaset has called a shareholder meeting on Friday over governance tweaks needed to ease a pan-European expansion plan which its second-largest investor Vivendi is fighting in court. Controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Mediaset last year approved a plan to merge its businesses in Italy and Spain under a Dutch-based company, called MediaForEurope (MFE). The broadcaster wants to use the new entity to pursue tie-ups with European peers to take on competition from streaming apps such as Netflix and web giants like Google. But French media group Vivendi, led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, opposes the plan saying the governance structure of the new entity would strengthen Berlusconi's grip on the company. In response to Vivendi's legal challenge, a Spanish court has provisionally put the merger on hold, while a decision by a Milan court over the French group's request to suspend the deal is still pending. To increase the chances the Milan judge will rule in its favour, Mediaset called an extraordinary shareholder meeting for Jan. 10 to approve changes to the bylaws of MFE suggested by the court. Vivendi however said in a letter to Mediaset's board last month that the proposed changes failed to address its concerns and called for a broader overhaul. NO TRUCE Doubts over the future Mediaset's pan-European plan increased after Mediaset and Vivendi failed to resolve their multiple legal disputes, including the one over MFE, with an out-of-the court agreement. Vivendi and Mediaset have been at odds since the French conglomerate withdrew from a deal to buy Mediaset's pay-TV unit and then built up a 29% stake in the group, which the Italian broadcaster considers hostile. Two thirds of that stake is held in a trust following a ruling by the Italian telecoms watchdog over Vivendi's excessive presence in the country's media and telecoms sectors given its 24% stake in Telecom Italia The Berlusconi family's holding company, Fininvest, holds 45.8% of Mediaset's voting rights, meaning it will almost certainly get its way on Friday, despite Vivendi's opposition if it bars the trust from voting as it has done in the past. Mediaset's board will take a decision on whether to exclude the trust ahead of the shareholder meeting. The deadlock with Vivendi is weighing on Mediaset shares, which fell 5.5% in 2019 against a 27% rise in Italy's mid-cap index. (Reporting by Elvira Pollina. Editing by Jane Merriman)

UPDATE 1-Vivendi files request to suspend freeze on Mediaset stake

08 Jan 2020

MILAN, Jan 8 French media giant Vivendi has asked an Italian court to suspend a ruling forcing it to freeze two-thirds of its stake in Italian broadcaster Mediaset , a document showed on Wednesday.

Italy's Atlantia slips further into 'junk' status on concession risks

03 Jan 2020

MILAN Italian infrastructure group Atlantia on Friday suffered its second debt downgrade in a month, slipping further into junk territory, as the government considers revoking the group's motorway concession following a deadly bridge collapse.

Italy's freeze on Vivendi's Mediaset stake breaches EU law - court adviser

18 Dec 2019

BRUSSELS/MILAN An Italian law that forced Vivendi to freeze two-thirds of its stake in Italian broadcaster Mediaset breaches European Union rules, the EU Advocate General said on Wednesday.

AC Milan, Inter struggle to overcome opposition to plans to replace San Siro

17 Dec 2019

MILAN Milan's football clubs and the city municipality are in talks to try to resolve a dispute over plans for a new stadium to replace the nearly century-old San Siro arena.

TIM, Vodafone ready Italian tower stake sale with advisers - sources

11 Dec 2019

MILAN Telecom Italia and Vodafone will kick off the sale of a stake in their Italian tower business in the coming days after picking advisers for the process, two sources said.

Telecom Italia, Open Fiber trade barbs over single network project

05 Dec 2019

ROME Telecom Italia (TIM) and smaller broadband rival Open Fiber traded blows on Thursday on how they do business, complicating plans for a tie-up to create a single fiber network.

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