• Mediaset mergers Italian and Spanish operations
  • The Netherlands named hub for new company
  • Media For Europe “administratively complex” says CEO

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Mediaset to form Media For Europe uniting Italian and Spanish operations

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Italian broadcaster Mediaset will merge its Spanish and Italian units into one new holding company called Media For Europe. 

The new venture, Media For Europe (MFE) will see entire control over Mediaset SpA and Mediaset España as well as the recently-acquired 9.6% stake in ProSiebenSat1.

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Mediaset chief executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi said: “We have identified a new operational model that will generate efficiencies and development. And today, in a context of global competition, the creation of an editorial group of adequate scale to reach a European audience is a crucial factor for the future.

“It will be an administratively complex operation but, from the outset, will provide many evident advantages for the shareholders who follow us. We have already identified an annual €107 million in synergies and savings that will be achieved by 2023, something that, regardless of market performance, will be an advantage for all shareholders.”

Mediaset said MFE has been developed with the aim of creating value and development as the “home of a great European broadcaster.”

Berlusconi said the international operation has been planned for over one year and the choice of Dutch headquarters was “purely technical,” based on the fact the Netherlands permits a level of governance to facilitate stability for the shareholder’s structure.

The new hub promises managerial certainty and ensures greater flexibility for the MFE broadcaster operations to pursue growth opportunities and develop, the board of directors announced.

It confirmed there will be no de-localisation and the operational activities of both companies will remain in Italy and Spain, as will their respective fiscal bases ensuring that taxes will continue to be paid in Italy and Spain.

The same will apply to production and jobs that will also remain firmly based in Italy and Spain. MFE has been created with industrial objectives and a new operational model.

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In addition, Berlusconi said once the MFE operation was completed, it will buy back shares for €280 million and by the end of 2019 will distribute a dividend of €100 million.

He added: “I would also like to underline that the tax base of the founding companies of MFE will remain in their respective countries of origin and that the tax base of our major shareholder, Fininvest, will remain in Italy.

“We also believe that over time this integration in MFE will increase production investments precisely in both Italy and Spain.”

On the development of the operation, Berlusconi announced plans to invest in new platforms as any “modern broadcaster” today must diversify and “develop a platform at the level of those of the global operators and all of the technology required for the advertising of the future.”