Vivendi said it believes it does not exercise “any de facto control over Telecom Italia” under Italian law, in response to a request by the country’s market regulator Consob to clarify its position.
The France-based media company, which is Telecom Italia’s largest shareholder with a 24 per cent stake, said in a statement: “its participation in Telecom Italia is not sufficient enough to allow it to exercise, on a stable basis, a dominant influence at Telecom Italia shareholders’ meetings.”
Vivendi’s announcement comes after Consob, through its French counterpart Autorite des Marches Financiers, told the company to declare whether or not it controls the operator.
The request came after Telecom Italia said in its latest financial report, released in July, that its board of directors “acknowledged the beginning of the direction and coordination activity over TIM by Vivendi”.
Telecom Italia then followed up with a statement, at the request of Consob, clarifying Vivendi had “directed and coordinated” activity with regards to appointing a new senior executive from Vivendi, as well as pushing a joint venture project between the operator and Canal Plus Group.
Responding directly to Telecom Italia’s statement, Vivendi said it had exercised management and coordination activities on those occasions due to “factual and specific circumstances”.
“It shall not be construed, based on applicable Italian law principles, as evidence of a de facto control position,” added Vivendi.
Despite its statement, the French company tightened its grip on Telecom Italia in recent months, after increasing the number of Vivendi executives sitting on the operator’s board.