Milan

Vivendi caused Mediaset 'serious damage' (2)

Pier Silvio Berlusconi on dispute with French media company

Vivendi caused Mediaset 'serious damage' (2)

Milan, December 1 - Mediaset CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday said French media company Vivendi caused the Italian broadcaster "very serious damage" after Vivendi pulled out of a deal to buy Mediaset Premium. "Still today we don't completely understand the reasons for their refusal," he said. "The European pay-TV platform was our idea and we're still working in it, if needed also with other partners". On October 20 shares in former premier Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset group fell 6% on the Milan bourse after the breakdown of talks aimed at reaching an out-of-court settlement to a dispute over Vivendi's pulling out of a deal to buy Premium. The issue will now have to be settled in court. The Italian media conglomerate said a conflict with the French media multinational "will be resolved in court". "We have had no contact since July," the Italian company said in a statement. Vivendi earlier issued a statement saying it will no longer pursue a "friendly solution" after it backed out of the deal to purchase Premium. Vivendi backtracked from the deal to take full control of Mediaset Premium announced in April, citing "unrealistic" budget assumptions and sparking lawsuits. In July, the French firm said Mediaset's business plan for its Premium pay-TV business was "based on unrealistic assumptions". The plan presented by Berlusconi's broadcasting company said its Premium division would break even in 2018. The French group said in a statement that due diligence by Deloitte auditors at the beginning of June deemed the business plan to be "unachievable". In August, Berlusconi's family holding company Fininvest sought 570 million euros in damages from Vivendi over its alleged failure to respect the April deal. On September 30, Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine said talks with Mediaset were ongoing and he was confident an agreement could be found. "Perhaps we will find a solution - I am confident," the chief executive said on his way out of a board meeting in Milan of Telecom Italia, of which he is vice-president.

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