Five years of lawsuits, appeals, spite, raids on the stock exchange. The agreement signed last night by Mediaset and Vivendi is a tombstone that will separate the destinies of Cologne and Paris. a financial agreement that establishes the ways and times for the disengagement of the French from Biscione, establishing the rules of coexistence until the exit is completed. It has no industrial content. After all these years of battles in the courts, the idea of industrial cooperation had now become impractical. At this point everyone will go their own way and Mediaset will certainly have the greatest advantage immediately, regaining the freedom to decide and carry out their own strategies, without fear of ambushes or surprises. The agreement in fact sterilizes the possibility for the group controlled by Vincent Bollor to exercise the blocking minority with 29.9% of the votes.
The sale of the share
According to the agreements, the Parisian media company, which currently holds 28.8% of the Biscione capital, will reduce its direct stake to approximately 4%, immediately selling 5% of Mediaset to Fininvest and committing itself to sell within five years. 19.9% of the Biscione capital held by Simon Fiduciaria, who will continue to hold the shareholding and manage its sale on the market until it is canceled. He has five years to do it, but the timing depends above all on market conditions. Vivendi has a large capital loss on the shareholding and therefore needs time to recover value. Certainly the agreement should do well for the Mediaset title. In the meantime, 5% will be purchased by Fininvest which will thus take the Biscione to 46%.
The holding of the Berlusconi family has sealed off the next two meetings scheduled for May 27 and June 23. Vivendi has in fact committed to vote in favor of the elimination of the multiple vote from the Mediaset Statute and the transfer of the registered office to the Netherlands. Furthermore, together with Fininvest, he will vote in favor of the distribution of the 0.30 cent dividend (which had been frozen), which should bring about 100 million euros into the coffers of the Parisian group.
The grave agreement on the causes
However, the content of the agreement is not just economic. Peace also, and above all, passes through the renunciation of further legal battles. Starting with the appeal against the first instance sentence that on April 19 recognized Vivendi in default for not having bought Mediaset Premium, but condemning her to pay 1.7 million euros in damages. For various reasons, Fininvest and Mediaset had requested 6 billion in compensation. The agreement signed yesterday provides that the Parisian group pays a compensation to Cologno, but of a few tens of millions of euros. The greatest effect, however, could relate to the criminal trial involving Bollor and Vivendi’s CEO, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, under investigation for manipulation and obstacle to the supervisory authority in the purchase of Mediaset shares. The parties should declare to Consob and the Public Prosecutor that they no longer have an interest in the prosecution of the lawsuits, so as to lighten the position in the ongoing process, in which Mediaset and Fininvest have undertaken not to present themselves as civil parties. The Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office sent the two French managers the notice of conclusion of the investigations and, in times not known at the moment, the judge will have to decide on the indictment or dismissal. clear that the agreement goes in the direction of dropping the charges to close the affair without consequences.
The growth strategy
Now that the curtain falls definitively on the idea of seeing Mediaset and Vivendi conquer Europe together, a new phase begins for the two groups. Vivendi will continue to play its game in Italy, first of all shifting attention to Tim, and to the possibility of growing content in terms of convergence between broadband and TV. Mediaset for the moment remains focused on Pier Silvio Berlusconi’s plan to create a pan-European hub and the transfer of the registered office in the Netherlands functional to this project, which also includes the purchase of the majority stake in Prosibensat.1. Now that the rules have been set with Vivendi, the old Media for Europe plan can also be back in the top. Or, in any case, it can help speed up the strategy. Neither has stood still, but in the five years in which Mediaset and Vivendi have fought in the courts, there has been a revolution in the world of the media.