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Friendly Mediaset solution not a priority says Vivendi (2)

Firm will do what it takes to protect shareholders

Friendly Mediaset solution not a priority says Vivendi (2)

Milan, October 19 - French media multinational Vivendi S.A. said Wednesday it considers itself at liberty to cease pursuing a friendly solution with Italy's Mediaset media group over a failed deal to purchase its Premium pay-TV division. "The firm reserves the right to take whatever course of action it needs to defend its interests and those of its shareholders," a Vivendi statement said. Vivendi backtracked from a deal to take full control of Mediaset Premium announced in April, citing "unrealistic" budget assumptions and sparking lawsuits. In July, the French firm said Mediaset's business plan for its Premium pay-TV business was "based on unrealistic assumptions". The plan presented by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's broadcasting company said its Premium division would break even in 2018. The French group said in a statement that due diligence by Deloitte auditors at the beginning of June deemed the business plan to be "unachievable". In August, Berlusconi's family holding company Fininvest sought 570 million euros in damages from Vivendi over its alleged failure to respect the April deal. On September 30, Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine said talks with Mediaset are ongoing and he was confident an agreement could be found. "Perhaps we will find a solution - I am confident," the chief executive said on his way out of a board meeting in Milan of Telecom Italia, of which he is vice-president.

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