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Vivendi asks Italian court to suspend Mediaset stake freeze

Vivendi SA requested an Italian administrative court to suspend a ruling that forces it to freeze two-thirds of its 28.8% stake in broadcaster Mediaset SpA, Reuters reported, citing a report by Mediaset auditors.

A decision in favor of Vivendi's request could reportedly make it hard for Mediaset to pursue plans to create a pan-European holding company for its assets. Mediaset shareholders are set to meet Jan. 10 to discuss possible changes to the plans.

The French media group is against the governance measures as they would channel too much power to Mediaset's primary shareholder, the Berlusconi family. The two companies have recently been in talks to reach a deal despite initially failing to reach an out-of-court settlement, according to a separate Reuters report.

A deal could lead to Vivendi's sale of about two-thirds of its stake in Mediaset to the proposed holding company, MFE-Mediaforeurope. Both sides, however, remain at odds over differences in price and other terms, sources told Reuters.

Italian telecom regulator Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni has ruled against Vivendi's stake-building in Mediaset. Vivendi responded by agreeing to transfer its holding in Mediaset beyond the required 10% threshold to a blind trust. However, an advocate general for the Court of Justice of the European Union recently said the measure is against EU rules.