Artículo del FT:
On camera, appearances count for a lot. The less forgiving lens of markets gives short shrift to cosmetic changes. One man not shy of the camera is Silvio Berlusconi. His life might make an epic film — or perhaps a comedy. Some of the companies he controls, like Mediaset of Italy, deserve lesser billing. Minority holders have made nothing from holding its shares for a decade. Announcing the creation of a Dutch holding company to house the Mediaset interests is an attempt to clean up a muddled script. The new entity, rebranded MFE (MediaForEurope), premiered with a promise of a thrilling pan-European vision. Mediaset and its subsidiary Mediaset España will exchange shares for those in the new Netherlands-based company. Mediaset España’s minorities with 48.4 per cent will not be bought out, but will receive 2.33 shares of MFE for each of España.
The deal offers no premium for the Spanish shares that have outrun those of its Italian parent for years. But loyal fans will receive extra voting stock if they hold their new shares for more than two years. The new group should transform an unwieldy pairing of two companies. Into what, though? A holding company where the same players work on the same wonky set. There is no tax twist, either. The Italian and Spanish companies will continue to make payments to their respective countries. Mr Berlusconi has created drama from a pedestrian scenario.
Yes, a leaner structure combined with cost-cutting — “efficiencies” — of around €100m annually will boost earnings from next year.
Taxed and capitalised Mediaset optimistically thinks these are worth €800m. But any savings might have been made independent of this structure. MFE has hopes to make it on the larger European stage but provided no clear vision for how.
Shareholders will get some cinema sweets for attending this show, €100m in dividends and up to €280m in share buybacks. But this hype must turn into real-life turnround story to sustain a rise in Mediaset’s market value.