BERLIN (Reuters) - German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media (PSMGn.DE) is not in strategic talks with Mediaset (MS.MI), its new CEO Rainer Beaujean said on Thursday in response to the accumulation of a large minority stake by the Italian company.
Mediaset, controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, disclosed last month that it had raised its stake in ProSieben to 24.2% as it pushes ahead with plans to create a pan-European TV group.
Responding to persistent takeover speculation, Beaujean said ProSieben was in regular touch with Mediaset over their shared business interests, while its investor relations team continued a “completely normal exchange” with major shareholders.
But, asked whether strategic talks were taking place, he gave a negative answer.
ProSieben’s declining business fortunes and a series of strategic missteps led to the departure of CEO Max Conze at the end of March.
Beaujean, formerly CFO, was promoted to the top job. He faces a tough start after the company reported a 40% slump in ad revenues in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, scrapped its dividend and abandoned its outlook for the year.
To the best of his knowledge, Beaujean added, Mediaset now owns less than 10% of ProSieben directly while it has taken out derivatives to buy the rest of its declared stake.
It would only be able to vote its directly held shares at ProSieben’s June 10 annual general meeting, he added. The cut-off date for registering shareholdings for the AGM is June 3.
Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Michelle Martin