French media group Vivendi is expected to offer to cap its voting rights in Italian pay-TV firm Mediaset to comply with a ruling from competition regulator Agcom, pending an appeal against the watchdog’s decision. Reuters reports that Vivendi will freeze its voting rights in Mediaset at just under 10%, leaving it free to maintain its influence at Telecom Italia.
Vivendi controls around 24% of Telecom Italia and 29% of Mediaset, and there are fears that the telco could bundle its own products with pay-TV offers from Mediaset to give it an unfair advantage in Italy’s multi-play sector. In April this year Agcom ruled that Vivendi must reduce its stake in either Telecom Italia or Mediaset within twelve months, and Vivendi has until 18 June to present a report to the regulator saying how it intends to proceed.
The French group has already offered to sell Telecom Italia’s 70% interest in Italian broadcasting services group Persidera, with the European Commission (EC) announcing last week that the move would be enough to satisfy its own competition concerns.