March 9, 2016 / 2:55 PM / 2 years ago

Mediaset in talks to sell pay-TV unit to Vivendi - sources

MILAN, March 9 (Reuters) - Italian broadcaster Mediaset is in talks to sell its pay-TV unit to French media group Vivendi and a deal could be sealed soon, three sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.

One source said that Vivendi is seeking to buy Mediaset’s entire 89 percent stake in the unit, which it would pay half in cash and half in Vivendi shares.

The remaining 11 percent in Mediaset Premium is held by Spain’s Telefonica, which bought it last year in a deal valuing the whole company at around 1 billion euros.

The talks are led by Mediaset Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi, the son of the former Italian prime minister, and Vivendi’s chairman and top shareholder Vincent Bollore, the sources added.

“Pier Silvio is determined to sell and a deal could be signed shortly,” one of the sources said. Another source said the two groups could set up a European joint venture over content.

Mediaset shares extended their gains after the news and were up 6 percent at 3.59 euros by 1441 GMT, outperforming a 1.7 percent rise in the European media index.

Vivendi, which is already the top shareholder in Telecom Italia, declined to comment.

Reporting by Giancarlo Navach, additional reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris, writing by Agnieszka Flak, editing by Silvia Aloisi

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