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EC conditionally approves Vivendi's takeover of Telecom Italia

The European Commission approved Vivendi SA's plan to gain control of Telecom Italia SpA after the French media conglomerate agreed to divest Telecom Italia's stake in broadcasting services provider Persidera.

Vivendi is Telecom Italia's majority stakeholder with about 24% of stake in the Italian operator, and also holds a significant minority stake in Italian broadcaster Mediaset. Vivendi's offer to divest the Persidera stake came after the European Commission raised concerns that post-takeover Vivendi might charge TV channels more for wholesale access to digital terrestrial TV networks, "where Persidera and Mediaset each hold a significant share."

"In order to address the competition concerns identified by the Commission, Vivendi committed to divest Telecom Italia's stake in Persidera," the commission said in a May 30 news release.

The EC, however, pointed out that the conditional approval did not impact a review and order by the Italian Communications Authority, Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni, whereby the Italian regulator asked Vivendi to drop its stake in Mediaset or Telecom Italia.

Persidera is a joint venture between Telecom Italia and Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso.