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Italian TV group Mediaset buys stake in German broadcaster

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Milan (AFP)

Italian television group Mediaset said Wednesday it has acquired 9.6 percent of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 as it seeks European expansion to counter the rise of global streaming giants such as Netflix.

Mediaset, which is owned by the family of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, will become the largest shareholder in the German channel, which also has a presence in Austria and Switzerland.

"The friendly acquisition of a stake in ProSiebenSat.1 is a long-term choice, aimed at creating value with an increasingly international outlook," Pier Silvio Berlusconi, the son of Italy's three-time premier, said in a statement.

"Mediaset is proud to invest in the future of free-to-air European television," he said, adding that the acquisition confirms the company's "esteem for the current management" of ProSiebenSat.1.

"The rapid process of globalisation that is determining the international scenario is such that European media companies like us need to join forces if we are to continue to compete, or even just resist, in terms of our European cultural identity, eventual attacks by the global giants."

Mediaset, which also broadcasts in Spain, said it has had a strong relationship with ProSiebenSat.1 for five years as part of the European Media Alliance (EMA), with the aim "to develop scale economies which are crucial for the future of European TV".

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