Vivendi mulls complaint to EU Commission after Italy regulator decision

A woman walks walk past the main entrance of the entertainment-to-telecoms conglomerate Vivendi's headquarters in Paris

An Italian regulator ordered French media group Vivendi VIV.PA on Tuesday to cut its stake in either Telecom Italia TLIT.MI or broadcaster Mediaset MS.IT within a year, ruling it was in breach of rules created to prevent a concentration of power.

Agcom ordered Vivendi to present a detailed plan within 60 days as to how it will comply with the ruling.

French media group Vivendi has been ordered to reduce its stake in either Telecom Italia or commercial broadcaster Mediaset by Italy's communications regulator AGCom (Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni).

He has also spearheaded a drive to turn Vivendi into a European media powerhouse, including amassing a 24 percent stake in Telecom Italia.

Vivendi released a statement on Tuesday saying that it "neither controls nor exercises a dominant influence on Mediaset" and said it was considering legal action.

Bollore took almost a 30% stake in Mediaset past year, and slowly built a stake in Telecom Italia that's at 24%.

The spat was aggravated by a swift stake-building by Vivendi in December which made it the second-largest shareholder in the Milan-based TV group after the family of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Mediaset said it was satisfied with the regulator's decision, which came late on Tuesday, and was waiting to read the full ruling before deciding on any future action. The move by the French billionaire angered Mr. Berlusconi and drew lawsuits from Mediaset. Analysts think if his hand is forced, Bollore will choose to keep the TI stake.

Glass Lewis and ISS, the world's two biggest shareholder advisory firms, said Telecom Italia investors should not support the list of candidates proposed by Vivendi, the company's top shareholder, at a meeting on May 4.

Fininvest filed a criminal complaint, following which Milan prosecutors placed Vivendi's chairman, Vincent Bollore, and chief executive, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, under investigation for market manipulation.

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