Mediaset, Taodue ink content deal

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ROME -- Italy's Mediaset announced Thursday that it had agreed on terms with Italian television content producer Taodue to develop and distribute TV and cinema content to be sold in Italy and internationally.

The as-yet-unnamed new company, which will have about 375 million euros ($555 million) in assets, will include the Medusa cinema production unit owned by Mediaset and all of Taodue.

The company will be 75% controlled by Mediaset, with the rest in the hands of Taodue shareholders, who will also receive a lump sum of 107 million euros ($158 million) from Mediaset.

The deal with Taodue is the latest in a series of major moves for Mediaset, which in recent months acquired control of Dutch reality television content producer Endemol and absorbed Medusa, the film distribution giant owned by media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, Mediaset's largest shareholder.

Investors were split about the importance of the deal, with shares fluctuating significantly in heavy trading Thursday before closing just 0.4% higher at 6.56 euros ($9.71).
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