Mediaset investors revise stakes

Canal participation halved, Prince sells to Lehman Bros.

MILAN — Italy’s leading TV group, Mediaset, announced that two shareholders have reconsidered their financial participation in its capital.

Gallic pay TV giant Canal Plus nearly halved its stake to 3.57% from 6.43%, while Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal sold his 2.28% stake in Mediaset to merchant bank Lehman Brothers Intl. Europe.

Al Waleed will keep his voting rights and an option to buy back all his Mediaset shares for the next three years, Mediaset said.

Canal Plus and Al Waleed acquired their Mediaset stocks in 1996, when Silvio Berlusconi launched the TV company on the Milan Stock Exchange.

Together with Germany’s Kirch Group in 1996, the two international partners acquired about 20% in Mediaset. Today, Kirch owns about 1.3% of Mediaset and Berlusconi’s Fininvest has a 47.62% stake.

Neither Mediaset nor the other companies involved in the operation would comment.

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