By Manuela Mesco
MILAN -- French group Vivendi said Thursday it now has a 28.8% stake in Mediaset SpA, as the French media group increases its shares in the Italian broadcaster despite ongoing legal battles between the two firms.
Vivendi, led by billionaire Vincent Bolloré, previously announced it planned to reach a 30% stake in the Italian broadcaster, controlled by the family of the former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi. A 30% stake is the legal threshold before an investor is required to launch a takeover offer for all shares outstanding.
The Berlusconi family is the major shareholder in Mediaset, through holding company Fininvest, with a current stake of just over 38%. But it can't buy any more shares until April, according to Italian law.
Vivendi, has been steadily buying up shares in Mediaset. Last week, after a long-running contractual dispute over a failed partnership between the two media giants, Vivendi started buying up Mediaset shares, spending $860 million to build a 20% stake.
Write to Manuela Mesco at [email protected]