MFE to restructure Prosieben stake after talks with Austrian watchdog

The logo of German media company ProSiebenSat.1 in front of its headquarters in Unterfoehring
The logo of German media company ProSiebenSat.1 is seen in front of its headquarters in Unterfoehring, near Munich, Germany, November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo

MILAN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - MediaForEurope (MFEB.MI) has withdrawn a notification to Austria's competition watchdog over potential de facto control of German media group Prosiebensat.1 (PSMGn.DE) as it restructures its stake, it said on Monday.

Controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, MediaForEurope has built a potential voting stake of 29.9% in Prosieben, which also operates in German-speaking Austria.

MFE currently controls part of that stake -- equal to just above 6% of the German broadcaster's voting capital -- through derivatives instruments.

"MFE has withdrawn its filing with the Austrian authorities on 27 January 2023 as we have decided to amend the structure of our investment," a spokesperson for the Italian company said.

The original notification was dated Dec. 13.

"We understand from our ongoing dialogue with various stakeholders that a simplified structure of our investment would be appreciated," the spokesperson added.

The notification was required under Austrian law because MFE was in a position to control a majority of voting rights at Prosiebensat.1's shareholder meetings, where turnout has been ranging between 53-56%, a source close to the matter said last month.

The Austrian authority confirmed earlier in January that it wanted to examine the impact of MFE's involvement on media plurality.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina Editing by Keith Weir

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