Silvio Berlusconi and Vincent Bollore, two of Europe’s most powerful media barons, have agreed a €1.75bn (£1.25bn) pact to create a European rival to Netflix and stronger continental opposition to Sky. The deal is expected to be approved this evening by the directors of Mr Berlusconi’s TV company Mediaset. It will see Mr Bollore’s French media giant Vivendi take full control of Mr Berlusconi’s Mediaset Premium. The loss-making pay-TV arm owns rights to top-flight Italian football and competes with Sky Italia.
Vivendi will also take a 3.5pc stake in Mediaset, which is a leading terrestrial commercial broadcaster. Mr Bollore will pay for the assets with a 3.5pc stake in Vivendi worth €879m. He is widely viewed by financiers as one of Europe’s sharpest boardroom operators after building up a vast media and industrial empire over years of activist investing and canny deal-making.
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