France's Vivendi boosts stake in Berlusconi's media empire

Markets Associated Press

French media company Vivendi says it has acquired a 20 percent stake in Italy's Mediaset in what the media company of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi says is a hostile takeover bid.

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Vivendi made the announcement in a one-line statement Wednesday.

As Vivendi increased its stake in recent days, Mediaset accused it of taking advantage of the 30 percent drop in Mediaset's share value after Vivendi backed out of a plan to buy its Premium unit over the summer.

Italy's economic development minister, Carlo Calenda, said Vivendi's bid for one of Italy's biggest media companies "doesn't appear to be the most appropriate way to proceed" to boost Vivendi's presence in Italy.

While welcoming foreign investment and voicing respect for the market, Calenda said the government is monitoring the situation.