• Mediaset increases stake in ProSeibenSat.1 to almost 20%
  • Mediaset Espana spends €66 million on 4.25% share of German broadcaster
  • Italian broadcaster continues to eye European integration

Mediaset credit freedompic shutterstock

Mediaset: Decides to up its stake in ProSiebenSat.1

Source: Freedompic shutterstock

Italian broadcaster Mediaset has upped its stake in German company ProSiebenSat.1 to around 20%.

The move comes as Mediaset looks to transform into a pan-European TV provider in a major structural overhaul of the Italian commercial broadcaster.

In a statement, Mediaset’s Spanish unit Mediaset Espana said it had acquired an additional 4.25% of ProSiebenSat.1’s shares in a deal worth around €66 million.

The acquisition takes the Spanish arm’s share to 9.75%. Alongside an existing 9.6% share held by the parent company, this takes Mediaset’s stake to just under 20%, which is the equivalent of 20.1% in voting rights.

Mediaset recently revealed it was considering options for its stake in ProSiebenSat.1, with consolidation or an outright sale among steps mooted by the Italian company.

Mediaset is controlled by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest, who built the stake last year to push its agenda of uniting broadcasters under a European holding company it is setting up.

Chief finance officer Marco Giordani told analysts during a conference call that Mediaset had structured its investment so that it could exit if it wanted to, with the investment uses a ‘collar’ option strategy that protects against share-price declines.

He said: “From the financial point of view we have structured the acquisition in a way that theoretically we can also leave the investment if for any reason we decide that the consolidation would not be possible.”

However, this latest investment implies Mediaset wants to proceed with its consolidation plans, which also include an overhaul of the structure of its main business units into a Dutch-based holding company called MediaForEurope.

Earlier this month, Mediaset said that it has decided to withdraw the filing of its merger plan for MediaForEurope from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce after Vivendi – it’s second largest shareholder - threatened new legal action in the Netherlands.

Mediaset said it decided to withdraw the filing to avoid any pretext for more legal proceedings, adding that it would work with relevant authorities to move forward with a new filing.