Mediaset sells pay-TV unit to Vivendi, agrees share swap

MILAN, April 8 (Reuters) - Italian broadcaster Mediaset on Friday agreed to sell its pay-TV unit to French media giant Vivendi in a deal that also includes a 3.5 percent share swap between the two companies.

The agreement between Mediaset, owned by the family of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and Vivendi will strengthen the French company’s position in Italy as it seeks to create a content heavyweight to rival Sky and Netflix in southern Europe.

The deal includes a lock-up period of three years during which Vivendi will not be allowed to increase its stake in Mediaset beyond 5 percent.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti and Giancarlo Navach; writing by Francesca Landini, editing by Agnieszka Flak