(Adds Mediaset’s move)
MILAN, March 21 (Reuters) - French media group Vivendi and Italian broadcaster Mediaset are suing each other for alleged defamation, a legal source involved in the case said on Tuesday, escalating a dispute over a failed pay-TV accord.
A trial opened in Milan on Tuesday over the collapsed deal, after Mediaset sought court enforcement of an April 2015 contract to sell its Premium pay-TV unit to Vivendi.
The French group pulled out of the accord in July and went on to build a 28.8 percent stake in Mediaset in a move that angered both the media group controlled by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian government.
The source said that in the course of the trial on Tuesday Vivendi filed a suit against Mediaset for alleged defamation, without quantifying the damages sought.
In turn Mediaset is also now seeking damages for comments made in the media by Vivendi’s Chief Executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine, the source said.
Representatives for Vivendi and Mediaset declined to comment on the matter. (Reporting by Giulia Segreti and Giancarlo Navach; Editing by Paola Arosio, Greg Mahlich)