Mediaset urges ProSieben to commit to a strategy before the AGM
BERLIN (Reuters) – Mediaset said it would not seek confrontation at ProSiebenSat.1’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, but the German channel’s largest shareholder insisted on its call to collaborate on the strategy.
The Italian media group, controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, wants to consolidate across borders to allow European broadcasters to be more competitive for advertising dollars.
It has racked up an almost quarter-stake in ProSieben to support that goal, but the “Germany’s Next Topmodel” broadcaster has repeatedly pushed back its openings, branching out from entertainment to dating and e-commerce instead.
“Mediaset is a long-time shareholder,” CFO Marco Giordani told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
“Our position as a long-term shareholder is not to exert pressure. We would like to have more engagement, ”he added, offering to support the development of ProSieben’s entertainment business.
Mediaset said it controls a 23.5% stake in ProSieben through shares and other financial instruments. Of that amount, he holds a direct voting stake of 12.4%, based on disclosures from the German company.
Giordani said Mediaset will support management’s resolutions at Tuesday’s AGM, saying: “Now is not the time for fireworks, but rather the time to build the right strategy for all of ProSieben shareholders. . “
But he said Mediaset has taken a flexible stance on its stake in ProSieben. It had increased its direct stake in ProSieben in January and this process would continue.
DUTCH PLANS ON TRACK
Mediaset’s plans to establish a new business base in the Netherlands, called MediaforEurope (MFE), were boosted by ending a long-standing dispute with shareholder Vivendi.
With the support of the French media group, MFE is expected to be created in September, creating “a company that can start to consolidate the market,” Giordani said.
Time is running out, he said, pleading for the European commercial television industry to build a common advertising platform capable of competing with the dominant digital advertisers, Google and Facebook.
He rejected national mergers, such as the recent agreement concluded in France between RTL’s M6 Group and TF1, controlled by Bouygues, as failing to remedy the sector’s low income.
“It’s pretty easy to find cost synergies quickly. But media problems in Europe are not costs – they are revenues, ”said Giordani.
“If you want to compete with the big advertising sellers, you have to offer a continental product.”
Giordani said he was sure European consolidation would happen: “We want to be part of this consolidation. We want to propose and explain how our consolidation will be successful. “
He also said that after a strong first quarter, Mediaset’s second quarter would be better. “We are very happy with the performance of the company today.”
Written by Douglas Busvine. Edited by Jane Merriman