The French media and communications group Vivendi is threatening legal action against Italy’s Communications Regulatory Authority (Autorita per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni, Agcom) following its ruling that Vivendi must reduce its stake in either Telecom Italia or pay-TV firm Mediaset. Agcom says Vivendi’s interests in the two firms – over 24% in Telecom Italia and almost 29% of Mediaset – contravenes Italy’s ‘Gasparri Law’ which prevents one party from becoming too dominant in the media sector. It has given the French company a year to lower its shareholding in one of the units, and Vivendi must present a plan of action within 60 days.
The Financial Times reports that the ruling appears to deal a blow to Vivendi’s plans to create a major media, content and communications empire in southern Europe. The French group has released a response to the Agcom decision, arguing that it ‘neither controls nor exercises a dominant influence on Mediaset’. It goes on to add that it is considering legal action to block the ruling: ‘Vivendi reserves the right to take any appropriate legal action to prevent its interests, including filing an appeal to the Agcom decision at the Regional Administrative Court and to submit a formal complaint to the European Commission for the breach of EU law.’