Italy regulator refers decision on Vivendi's stake in Mediaset to administrative court


MILAN, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Italy's communications watchdog AGCOM said on Wednesday it would refer a decision on restrictions posed on media group Vivendi's VIV.PA stake in the country's top commercial broadcaster Mediaset MS.MI to an administrative court.

The Court of Justice of the European Union this month ruled that an Italian law which forced France's Vivendi, Mediaset's second-biggest shareholder, to freeze most of its voting rights in the Italian group violated the bloc's rules.

The EU court ruling, potentially allowing for a shake-up of Italy's media industry, prompted AGCOM to look into its decision to curb Vivendi's stake in Mediaset, which is controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The administrative court of the Lazio region has already scheduled a hearing for Dec. 16 to look into a request by Vivendi to annul the restrictions, which cap its voting rights in Mediaset at below 10% despite an actual 29% holding in the broadcaster.

The regulator said it would be up to the Lazio court to decide what action needs to be taken on the restrictions.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Agnieszka Flak)

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