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Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his family control 40 per cent of Mediaset.
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his family control 40 per cent of Mediaset.
(ALESSANDRO BIANCHI/Reuters)

Financial Times

Can ad king Mediaset continue to defy the slump?

Lex is a premium daily commentary service from the Financial Times. It helps readers make better investment decisions by highlighting key emerging risks and opportunities.

Mediaset was always an investment for those with a strong stomach. Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi controls the Italian broadcaster through his family’s 40-per-cent stake. Now the company faces an advertising slump in Italy and Spain, its two markets. That made for unpalatable 2012 results – revenue fell 12 per cent while impairments and restructuring charges contributed to a loss of €235-million ($305-million), reversing the €225-million profit in 2011. Yet Mediaset’s shares were up 8 per cent on Wednesday.