Mediaset investors agree to scrap loyalty share scheme

·2-min read

MILAN (Reuters) -Mediaset shareholders agreed on Thursday to ditch a loyalty share scheme at the Italian broadcaster as part of a wider deal struck earlier this month to end a dispute with its second-largest investor, French media group Vivendi.

Mediaset had proposed to axe the loyalty scheme in a sign of goodwill towards Vivendi, which had challenged the measure in court. The scheme rewards long-term investors with extra votes and would have strengthened the grip of Mediaset's top investor, the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

All shareholders present at a virtual meeting, representing 80% of the company's ordinary share capital, voted in favour of scrapping the scheme, the company said on its website.

Earlier this month Mediaset and Vivendi ended years of legal sparring with an accord under which the French group will drastically cut its stake in Italy's top commercial broadcaster.

Under that agreement, Vivendi also agreed to back a separate proposal to move Mediaset's legal headquarters to the Netherlands, part of an international expansion plan to tackle rising competition from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

That move will be put to a shareholder vote on June 23.

Mediaset was previously forced to shelve plans to set up a Dutch holding company and put its European expansion plans on hold because of opposition from Vivendi after a collapsed pay-TV deal back in 2016 plunged the two media companies into a bitter war waged in courts across Europe.

Following a string of favourable court rulings, Vivendi recovered full voting rights on its 29% stake in Mediaset, making its backing essential for Mediaset to push through any extraordinary moves, including the loyalty scheme or moving its legal HQ.

Mediaset shares closed up 0.95%, in line with Italy's all-share index.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Elvira Pollina; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Pravin Char)

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