The raid was connected with an investigation into alleged market manipulation related to Vivendi’s purchase of a stake in Mediaset last year.
Vivendi’s portfolio includes production giant Canal Plus. Mediaset remains a major TV power in Italy, a key part of the southern European territory where Vivendi wants to expand.
Business mogul Vincent Bolloré controls Vivendi, which he is aiming to transform into a more balanced company with more digital and gaming assets balancing out pay-TV and film, which face increasing revenue pressure. His battle with Berlusconi could determine the future of both companies, European analysts say.
After Mediaset filed a criminal complaint in Milan, prosecutors began looking into Vivendi’s acquisition of nearly $2 billion in Mediaset shares in the open market, about a 30% stake in the company.
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Fininvest, Berlusconi’s holding company, has accused Vivendi of undermining investor confidence and then swooping in to buy large blocks of shares, effectively executing a hostile takeover.
A Vivendi spokesman confirmed the raid to the Wall Street Journal but said the company “acquired its stake in Mediaset totally legally and transparently.”
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