January 21, 2020 / 3:38 PM / a month ago

Italy judge sets Feb 1 date for Vivendi request to suspend Mediaset TV project

MILAN, Jan 21 (Reuters) - A Milan-based judge set Feb. 1 as the date for a new hearing for a request by France’s Vivendi to suspend a corporate overhaul at Italy’s top commercial broadcaster Mediaset, two legal sources said on Tuesday.

Controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Mediaset wants to merge its Italian and Spanish units into a Dutch entity, dubbed MediaforEurope (MFE).

The broadcaster wants to use the new entity to pursue tie-ups in Europe to take on competition from streaming apps such as Netflix and web giants like Google

But Vivendi, which is Mediaset’s second largest shareholder with a 29% stake, is fighting the project in court, saying the governance structure of the new entity would strengthen Berlusconi’s grip on the company.

Mediaset faces a March deadline to see its Dutch holding company plan through, otherwise the decisions of a September shareholder meeting that approved the project will no longer be valid based on existing Dutch laws.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina

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