Mediaset, Vivendi close to sealing deal to end legal stand-off -sources

Credit: REUTERS/STEFANO RELLANDINI

Mediaset and its second-biggest shareholder Vivendi are close to reaching a deal that would see the French group sell a 20% stake in the Italian broadcaster to end a legal stand-off between the two sides, four sources said on Thursday.

MILAN/PARIS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Mediaset MS.MI and its second-biggest shareholder Vivendi VIV.PA are close to reaching a deal that would see the French group sell a 20% stake in the Italian broadcaster to end a legal stand-off between the two sides, four sources said on Thursday.

The deal would free Mediaset's hands, allowing it to press ahead with plans to create a pan-European TV champion through the merger of its Italian and Spanish units into a Dutch holding company called MediaForEurope (MFE).

Two of the sources familiar with the matter said the deal would see Vivendi sell two-thirds of its 29% holding in Mediaset to the MFE holding.

The deal would value Vivendi's stake at an overall price of around 3 euros per share, including interest payments and a special dividend Mediaset has already said it would pay to MFE shareholders.

"We are almost there," one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are confidential and still underway.

The two media groups have been locked in a series of legal disputes for the past three years. Last Friday, a Milan judge gave the two companies until Nov. 29 to settle their disagreements over MFE after previous attempts to reach an accord had failed.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, Gianluca Semeraro in Milan and Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris; additional reporting by Alfredo Faieta, editing by Silvia Aloisi)

((silvia.aloisi@thomsonreuters.com; +39 02 66129 723; Reuters Messaging: silvia.aloisi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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