×

Italy’s Mediaset Expands, Moves Base to Amsterdam

Mediaset, the Milan-based broadcaster founded by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is expanding its scope by moving its base to Amsterdam and setting up a pan-European media company, MediaForEurope, that will operate in Italy, Spain and Germany.

MediaForEurope will merge Mediaset Italy and Mediaset Spain, and include the company’s recently acquired 9.6% stake in Germany’s ProSiebenSat1. The newly consolidated company will be floated on the stock markets in Italy and Spain.

The move will give the new entity “scale to compete” with “big global players” thanks to “an integrated and diversified approach,” the company said in a statement, adding that its combined penetration will be more than 100 million TV homes. It described the move as an important step “towards the development of a fully integrated media company that can become a market leader” in both the linear and non-linear entertainment markets.

“In a world of global competition, creating a group with adequate size that can speak to a European audience becomes a crucial factor for the future,” Mediaset Managing Director Pier Silvio Berlusconi said.

The pan-European company will be headquartered in the Netherlands for “regulatory” reasons but will be fiscally based in Italy. Being headquartered in Amsterdam will shield MediaForEurope from risks tied to the volatility of Italy’s economy.

Mediaset Italy and Mediaset Spain, in which Mediaset owns a controlling 52% stake, are being folded into MediaForEurope. Mediaset is the private free-TV market leader in those two countries.

But Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 is not being merged with the Mediaset operations. Mediaset became the second-largest shareholder of ProSiebenSat.1 last week when it bought a 9.6% stake for a reported €330 million ($368 million). The synergies and setup between Mediaset and ProSiebenSat.1 remain to be seen.

The move comes amid a wave of consolidation in Europe’s television market as traditional networks struggle with declining advertising and younger viewers gravitate towards Netflix and other streamers.

Mediaset previously failed in an attempt to create a pan-European giant by joining forces with France’s Vivendi. The alliance went sour, which prompted an unsuccessful hostile takeover attempt by Vivendi, which now owns a 28.8% stake in Mediaset. The Berlusconi family, through its holding company Fininvest, has a 44% stake in the company.

“For Fininvest, this is a day to remember,” Fininvest President Marina Berlusconi said in a statement. She called MediaForEurope “the first step towards the birth of a pan-European broadcaster,” adding that Mediaset “knows how to react as a protagonist to the transformations of an increasingly global and competitive market.”

It remains to be seen whether MediaForEurope can become a cross-border operation in terms of content creation, like Netflix, Amazon and other platforms, which it says it is gearing up to compete against.

More TV

  • Kobe Bryant Staples Center memorial

    Kobe Bryant Mourners Gather Outside Staples Center to Remember Basketball Great

    Within hours of the news of Kobe Bryant’s death breaking, a fast-growing crowd of about two hundred people had gathered outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon to mourn the Lakers legend, who died earlier that day in a helicopter crash. Chants of “Kobe! Kobe!” broke out spontaneously outside of the [...]

  • Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile -

    Tanya Tucker Wins First Grammys, 47 Years After First Nomination

    Country music legend Tanya Tucker picked up her first two wins at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The 61-year-old singer won for best country song for “Bring My Flowers Now” and best country album for “While I’m Livin’.” “After 50 years in this business, I have a [...]

  • Kobe Bryant death

    News and Sports Outlets Scramble to Cover Kobe Bryant's Death

    Kobe Bryant’s shocking death forced major TV news and sports outlets to scramble on Sunday to cover the helicopter crash in Southern California that took the life of the legendary 41-year-old basketball star,  his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others. From the BBC to Fox News, Bryant’s death dominated coverage as soon as word surfaced [...]

  • Grammy placeholder

    Grammys Winners 2020: The Full List (Updating Live)

    The 62nd annual Grammy Awards kick off Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This year’s top nominees include Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X, whom are all scheduled to perform on the primetime telecast, in addition to Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani and more. The Grammys pre-show [...]

  • Lil Nas X Variety Cover Story

    Lil Nas X as Fashion Icon: The Rapper Runs Down Some of His Top Looks

    Already anointed a style icon by W magazine for “exploring uncharted territory in men’s fashion” and “redefining masculine expression,” Lil Nas X counted year-end best-dressed lists among his 2019 streaming and airplay accolades. Describing his fashion sense as “very experimental,” the rapper runs down a few of his top looks from last year. MTV Video [...]

  • Christopher Cross Grammys 1981

    Christopher Cross' 1981 Grammy Sweep Was the Best That He Would Do

    In the history of the Academy Awards, only three films have won the Hollywood equivalent of the royal flush — collecting statues for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay — and it’s safe to say all have held up fairly well: “It Happened One Night,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Silence [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content