The peace agreement between Mediaset and Vivendi. The projects of a pan-European TV. Media tensions in France. The moves of the German group Bertelsmann. Enrico Martial's point
The French press reported in a rather dry way the news of the agreement between Vincent Bolloré's Vivendi and Mediaset-Fininvest, on the trail of the May 3 evening release of the Reuters agency. In summary, Bolloré withdraws from the five-year climb, with which it climbed up to 28.8% of Mediaset, after having considered the price of Mediaset Premium that it was buying inadequate, to use a polite term. Seen hostile not only by the Berlusconi family, but also by the then Gentiloni government and by the minister Carlo Calenda, almost 20% of that climb was frozen in Simon Fiduciaria, in order not to exceed the limits set by the Gasparri law, given that Bolloré owned also a share of Telecom Italia. Therefore, now the fiduciary will sell 19.9% of the shares on the stock exchange over five years, the 5% in hand will be sold directly to Fininvest, Vivendi will hold a limited 4.61%. In the agreement there are other details, thresholds and sales values, and the overcoming of obstacles posed by Bolloré in these five years of litigation, such as moving the registered office to the Netherlands. There is also 26.3 million euros that Vivendi's Dailymotion will pay to resolve the secondary conflict with RTI and Medusa, owned by Mediaset.
The news comes in the midst of an uproar in media properties in France, also ahead of next year's presidential elections. On January 26, Le Point explained that Bolloré, the Breton, had a "war capital" of 6 billion to conquer the media in Europe. In 2013, Le Monde portrayed him as a character to be taken with a grain of salt, at the head of a multiform group, with an 11 billion turnover, present in many countries, with networks in all environments and directly linked to other groups and families, yet with an entrepreneurial nature of its own and suspicious of the French entrepreneurial system, a “well-educated predator”.
There are two large French groups that are changing hands. The French press has followed the saga of the crisis of the Lagardère group, which is now under control by the Vivendi of Bolloré. The partnership who served as the family's safe had to break the lock due to the weight of debts, and now three members of Vivendi sit on the board of directors, including, since February 2020, the former president of the Republic and his friend Nicolas Sarkozy. The commitment of Bernard Arnault's luxury giant LVHM did not help to prevent the takeover. For the business newspaper Les Echos , Arnault resisted the sharp shift to the right (and ultra right) of the French media, in the style of Fox News , hated by President Emmanuel Macron and drawn by Bolloré.
Then there is the German group Bertelsmann, another European media giant, which is expected to sell the second French private media group, which contains television La 6. soon consolidate large national groups, making it understood that everyone must return to their own homes. It would be a key to understanding: the German Bertelsmann leaves France, the French Vivendi leaves Italy. Bertelsmann is desired by many buyers: from Bernard Arnault to Xavier Niel (Iliad, closest to Macron) to Daniel Kretinsky (CMI group with small Marianne TV and the B Smart business network). For Bolloré there is the problem of antitrust and media concentration. In the pacification with Mediaset there would be a solution to overcome the pitfall, with a common takeover of the Bertelsmann properties in France, of which Vivendi has already bought in December the print segment, Prisma Media. On the other hand, Mediaset and Vivendi share the positioning of right-wing publishers, precisely in the Fox News scenario evoked by Les Echos.
Le Monde had emphasized how the Bolloré operation constitutes clear support for the forces of the French right . François Hollande, in a 2016 interview book, “Conversations with the President”, said that those “who did not distrust Bolloré are dead”, who is a “catho-intégriste”, an ultra conservative.
In the background, the “republican” right (distinct from the lepenist one) is in full swing, with the president of the Southern Region (the one with the capital city of Marseille), Renaud Muselier, who reapplies to the regional ones in alliance with Macron's République en Marche. There are countless internal protests in Les Républicains of which he is an exponent, as indeed are or have been various members of the Macron government, starting with Prime Minister Jean Castex.
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/che-cosa-si-dice-in-francia-dellaccordo-tra-mediaset-e-vivendi-di-bollore/ on Tue, 04 May 2021 07:19:11 +0000.