Mediaset seeks court enforcement of Vivendi contract

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Aug 19 Italian broadcaster Mediaset said on Friday it had asked a Milan court to enforce a contract to sell its pay-TV arm to French media group Vivendi, adding it would risk losing 1.5 billion euros if the previously-agreed deal fell through.

The Italian group expects to win damages of at least Euro 1.5 billion and is demanding an additional Euro 50 million for each month Vivendi fails to comply with the deal, the paper cited a Mediaset spokesman as saying.

Vivendi, which had backtracked from a deal to take full control of Mediaset Premium announced in April, also said in the statement that it was open to discussing another agreement with the broadcasting company.

Mediaset said it is seeking Vivendi to pay monthly damages of EUR50 million.

Mediaset's legal action takes place just as its stock value picked up 2.75% last week because of rumours that it was starting to work out an alternative agreement behind the scenes with Vivendi that would keep their strategic alliance in place.

Vivendi, whose top shareholder is 64-year-old French tycoon Vincent Bollore, proposed instead to acquire only 20 percent of the loss-making pay-TV division and gradually build up a stake of about 15 percent in Mediaset.

They gained 5 percent on Thursday after Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore said Vivendi was readying a new offer for Premium with Italian merchant bank Mediobanca - of which Bollore owns 8 percent - acting as a mediator.