Mediaset shares rally after peace deal with Vivendi By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Mediaset tower is seen in Milan

MILAN (Reuters) -Mediaset rallied on Tuesday after Italy’s top commercial broadcaster agreed a consensual break-up from its second-largest investor Vivendi (OTC:), putting an end to years of legal sparring and enabling the Milanese group to pursue its expansion abroad.

Mediaset (OTC:) shares jumped almost 6% on Tuesday, rising to levels last reached in September 2019, compared with a flat Italian all-share index.

Controlled by billionaires Silvio Berlusconi and Vincent Bollore, respectively, Mediaset and Vivendi have been at war since 2016, when the French media giant built a 29% stake in the Milan-listed group following a collapsed pay-TV deal.

After years of deadlocks and following recent string of victories scored by Vivendi in courts, the parties on Monday agreed a scheme under which the French group will drastically cut its stake in Mediaset.

Under the accord, Vivendi will sell on the market over a period of five years the two-thirds of its 28.8% stake in Mediaset which it had been forced to place into a trust.

The accord commits Mediaset to paying an extraordinary dividend of 0.30 euro a share in July, while ensuring Vivendi’s backing of Mediaset’s plan to move its legal base to the Netherlands as part of a wider strategy to seek tie-ups with European peers.

“The agreement is positive because it allows Mediaset to get the transfer of its headquarters to the Netherlands and to go ahead with the project to create a European free-to-air TV operator,” broker Equita wrote in a note.

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