In a statement, the EC says that its decision is based on a requirement for the divestment of Telecom Italia’s stake in Persidera. The latter, which is a joint venture with Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, is active in the market for the wholesale access to DTT networks for the broadcast of TV channels.
The EC adds that, “post-transaction, Vivendi would have had an incentive to raise prices charged to TV channels in the market for wholesale access to digital terrestrial television networks, where Persidera and Mediaset each hold a significant share. The benefits of such a strategy would be obtained either directly through Persidera or indirectly via the minority shareholding in Mediaset, since other players active in the market do not represent a viable alternative for TV channels. As a result, TV channels would have found it more expensive to reach their audiences in Italy”.
The EC says it also investigated whether the relationship between Vivendi’s activities in Italy in advertising, music, TV and mobile gaming and Telecom Italia’s activities in fixed and mobile telecommunications raised competition concerns. However, in this instance it concluded that there would be no competition concerns.
Reuters notes that Vivendi is currently Telecom Italia’s main shareholder, with a 24% stake in the company. It also appointed two thirds of its board earlier this month.
Vivendi also holds a 29% stake in Italy’s Mediaset.