Italy's Mediaset seeks German antitrust clearance for ProSiebenSat.1 stake

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Mediaset Espana is seen outside Madrid, Spain, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's biggest commercial broadcaster Mediaset MS.MI is seeking approval from Germany's competition authority for its recently increased stake in German rival ProsiebenSat.1 PSMGn.DE, the watchdog's website shows.

Controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Mediaset recently raised its holding in ProSiebenSat.1 to just over 20%, as it presses ahead with plans to create a pan-European TV champion to tackle stiff global competition.

Any antitrust approval could give the Italian broadcaster leeway to increase its stake further up to 25% and clear the way for Mediaset to vote at a ProSiebenSat.1 shareholder meeting scheduled in June.

“We are acting in line with German rules and we are informing all the involved authorities,” a spokesman for the Italian broadcaster said.

ProSiebenSat.1 declined to comment.

So far ProSiebenSat.1 has shown little enthusiasm for a closer tie-up with Mediaset. But things could change following the departure of former CEO Max Conze and the announcement ProSiebenSat.1 will shift its focus to its core entertainment business.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina in Milan; Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine in Berlin; Editing by Mark Potter