Mediaset to press ahead with European TV plan regardless of Vivendi: CEO to paper

FILE PHOTO: Mediaset's Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi poses after media conference at the headquarter in Cologno Monzese, near Milan, Italy, April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

MILAN (Reuters) - Mediaset will press ahead with plans to create a pan-European TV champion, regardless of whether it can strike a deal to settle a dispute with its second-largest shareholder Vivendi, the Italian broadcaster’s CEO was quoted as saying on Monday.

“We want to go ahead with our European development project... If we clinch an accord with them, fine. Otherwise, we will go another way,” Pier Silvio Berlusconi said in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Vivendi and Mediaset, which is controlled by the family of former Italan Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, have been locked in a fight since 2016 when the French group ditched an accord to buy Mediaset’s pay-TV unit and built a 29% stake which the Italian group considers hostile.

Berlusconi said the group could end 2020 with a “significant, maybe even surprising” profit despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis after advertising sales in its home market grew by 4% year-on-year in the second half.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina; editing by Agnieszka Flak