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MFE evaluates plans for Spanish business, raises ProSiebenSat stake

By Reuters

MADRID/MILAN -MediaForEurope on Monday will discuss options for its Mediaset Espana business, two sources said, following speculation that the Italian broadcaster could make a bid for the stake it does not already own in the Spanish firm.

The group controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi issued a statement to say its board would meet on Monday or Tuesday to take decisions about Mediaset Espana.

MFE, which owns 55.7% Mediaset Espana, is reviewing several options for its Spanish business, one of the sources said.

“A move to take the Spanish-listed unit private is a concrete option MFE is reviewing, as well as other initiatives”, the source said.

The move could be one step in MFE‘s plan to create a European broadcaster able to compete more effectively against online advertising and streaming giants.

On Monday, the Spanish regulator suspended trading of shares in Mediaset Espana after Bloomberg reported MediaForEurope was considering making a bid for the shares it does not own in the Spanish business.

Mediaset last year moved its legal headquarters to the Netherlands to revive its M&A plans.

The company, now called MediaForEurope, has adopted a dual share structure, with a 10-to-1 ratio for voting rights in a bid to have greater flexibility for financing possible deals.

“The operation makes sense for MFE as part of its to strategy to… create a European operator that can generates synergies at operating expenses (opex) level and a technological upgrade of content,” Equita analysts wrote in a note on Monday, referring to a potential offer for Mediaset Espana’s minorities.

Separately, MFE said it has crossed a 25% threshold in ProSiebenSat.1 voting rights as it increased its stake in the German media group

MFE did not disclose how much its stake had increased. It said it had bought the shares on the market.