MILAN/MADRID (Reuters) – A Spanish court has temporarily halted a plan to merge Italian broadcaster Mediaset’s domestic and Spanish business into a Dutch holding company, pending a legal challenge by shareholder Vivendi , Mediaset Espana (MC:TL5) said on Friday.
Mediaset’s (MI:MS) second-biggest shareholder Vivendi (PA:VIV) challenged the corporate overhaul in court because the French group sees it as detrimental to minority shareholders.
Pending a decision on Vivendi’s lawsuit, the court granted a precautionary suspension.
“Mediaset Espana strongly disagree with this interim ruling, and will immediately appeal,” the company said, adding it was confident a higher court would reverse the decision.
“The reasons behind Mediaset Espana’s position … are very solid and support the legal, economic and managerial rationale of the accords that have been challenged.”
Mediaset’s reorganization plan aims at creating a platform to better pursue pan-European tie-ups to face growing competition in the industry.
Vivendi has been a hostile Mediaset shareholder since the tycoons who control them, Vincent Bollore and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, fell out in 2016 over an aborted pay-TV deal. They have been in a legal war ever since.
By 1030 GMT shares in Mediaset Espana fell 1.4% having extended losses following the court ruling. Shares in Mediaset were broadly flat.
Neither Vivendi or Mediaset was immediately available for comment.