Mediaset Gets Shareholder Approval for Governance Changes -- Update

By Pietro LombardiFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

(Adds Mediaset share price and background.)

Italian broadcaster Mediaset SpA (MS.MI) said Friday that its shareholders have approved some governance changes that are expected to reinforce the position of the Berlusconi family and limit the influence of Vivendi SA (VIV.FR).

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The changes include a new maximum board size and changes to the process for appointing members to the board.

Under the new rules, the board of directors will have no more than 15 members, while the floor is set at seven. The current range is five to 21. The current 17-member board will remain in charge until the end of its tenure, Mediaset said in previous documents.

The new voting system will give minorities only two seats on a board of up to 11 members, or three in case of a larger board. The remaining seats will go to the majority list.

The new system strengthens the position of Mediaset's main shareholder Fininvest SpA--the Berlusconi family holding company--and its control of the broadcaster, analysts at Equita SIM said Thursday.

Mediaset didn't provide further details and a spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Shares in Mediaset were last up 1.9% at EUR3.30, while the benchmark FTSE MIB index was down 0.5%.

Mediaset and Vivendi have been embroiled in a dispute since a pay-TV deal reached in April 2016 fizzled out. Under the deal, Vivendi had agreed to acquire a small stake in Mediaset and buy the Italian company's pay-TV business, while Mediaset would buy a small stake in Vivendi. Later that year, Vivendi backed out of the deal in a row over the performance of Mediaset's pay-TV unit. In December of that year Vivendi--after disclosing a 3% stake in Mediaset--began building up its holding in the Italian company, which now stands at 28.8%.

In the past few months, press speculation over a possible agreement between the two has mounted.

Earlier this month, Mediaset Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi hinted at an improvement in the relationship between the two media companies on the back of a possible content deal between Mediaset and Telecom Italia SpA (TIT.MI). France's Vivendi holds large stakes in both Mediaset and Telecom Italia.

Earlier this year, Italy's authorities ruled that Vivendi can't hold large stakes in both companies.

Write to Pietro Lombardi at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 15, 2017 09:36 ET (14:36 GMT)