Mediaset CEO Said Set to Press Vivendi to Honor Canceled Deal

  • CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi said seeking to enforce contract
  • Vivendi scrapped EU880 million Premium-unit buy this week

Pier Silvio Berlusconi. Photographer: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Mediaset SpA’s board is poised to authorize its chief executive officer to explore ways to force Vivendi SA into honoring its canceled purchase of Mediaset’s Premium pay-TV unit, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The board, controlled by the family of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, plans to take the action on Thursday, when the Italian broadcaster reports first-half results, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The decision by Paris-based Vivendi has cost Mediaset about 1.5 billion euros ($1.65 billion), they said. While Silvio Berlusconi, 79, founded Mediaset, it is now led by his son, CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi.

Mediaset is digging in after Vivendi, led by billionaire and activist shareholder Vincent Bollore, unexpectedly pulled out of a southern European television alliance that involved the sale of Premium and a 3.5 percent exchange of stock between the two companies. Vivendi attributed its decision, announced on Tuesday, to differences in the analysis of the Premium unit’s results. Mediaset rejected that explanation and accused Vivendi of plotting a takeover.

A Mediaset representative declined to comment.

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