By Giulia Petroni 
 

Mediaset Espana Comunicacion SA (TL5.MC) said Friday it will immediately appeal a Spanish court's ruling that temporarily suspends the company's plan to merge with Italy's Mediaset SpA (MS.MI), adding it disagrees with the decision.

A court in Madrid decided Thursday that the merger of the Italian and Spanish broadcasters couldn't go ahead, following a legal challenge by French media company Vivendi SA (VIV.FR)--which holds a stake in both companies.

Vivendi pledged legal action against the plan to create a Dutch holding company called Media for Europe NV (MFE), arguing the strategy "disregards basic shareholders' rights" and would only benefit Mediaset's majority shareholder Fininvest.

Vivendi said it is satisfied with the Spanish court's decision and that legal actions in Italy and the Netherlands will continue, a spokesman said Friday.

"The judge has acknowledged that the planned merger was imposed in an abusive manner by Mediaset and its controlling shareholder Fininvest to the detriment of all minority shareholders and that it does not respond to a reasonable business need for Mediaset Espana," he said.

Mediaset said it is confident its European project will succeed, in spite of Vivendi's opposition.

In a separate statement, Mediaset said asset trust Simon Fiduciaria SpA--which holds parts of Vivendi's shares in Mediaset--also took action to halt the merger plan.

Vivendi has been embroiled in a dispute with Mediaset, which is controlled by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's family, since a pay-TV deal between the two companies fell apart in 2016.

 

Write to Giulia Petroni at giulia.petroni@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2019 12:04 ET (16:04 GMT)

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