Mediaset increases ProSiebenSat.1 stake as part of “free TV” plans

Mediaset has increased its stake in ProSiebenSat.1 as a part of its aspirations to create a pan-European media group.

The Silvio Berlusconi-controlled company now holds a 15.1% stake in the German broadcaster, following the acquisition of a further 5.5% stake in the media group.

The purchase, completed via Mediaset’s Spanish unit Mediaset Espana, was worth €170m and follows the company’s move to buy a 9.6% stake in ProSiebenSat.1 earlier this year.

A statement from Mediaset said: “The transaction confirms Mediaset’s commitment to invest in the future of free TV development in Europe and to unlock growth potential in Germany, Europe’s largest media market.”

Mediaset could further increase its stake to just below 20%, according to Reuters, whose report added that Mediaset is not planning a takeover of ProSiebenSat.1, rather just a closer relationship.

Mediaset is currently trying to combat the rapid growth of the likes of Netflix in Europe with the creation of a Europe-wide company called MediaForEurope. This involves merging its Italian and Spanish businesses into a Dutch holding company.

This strategy, however, has been met by a large amount of resistance from Vivendi, the second-largest shareholder in Mediaset, which is attempting to block the move on the grounds that the Berlusconi family’s Finivest holding company would tighten its grip over the company.

Last month, Vivendi was a key player in helping Banijay secure its deal for Endemol Shine. It will hold at 32.9% stake in the combined production giant, with fellow French outfit LDH holding the remaining 67.1%.

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