The Italian government exercised “golden power” over Telecom Italia, placing special requirements on the company’s management amid concern over Vivendi’s growing influence.
Italian authorities have the ability to intervene in the management practice of businesses it deems strategically important, including those in the telecoms sector. Telecom Italia was given 90 days to comply.
Vivendi and the Italian authorities have been in an ongoing debate over who effectively controls Telecom Italia. Vivendi holds a 24 per cent stake in the company making it the largest single shareholder, and the operator’s management includes a number of representatives from the French media giant.
In a statement, Telecom Italia said it is required to give responsibility for activities deemed significant for national security to a member of the board who is an Italian citizen, holds security clearance and is approved by the government for the role.
Also included in the government order is formation of a security organisation in charge of “relevant activities”, including decision-making related to strategy and the network, which must be under the leadership of an official chosen from a selection of three names proposed by the Department of Information Security and presidency of the Council of Ministers.
Telecom Italia’s businesses, TIM, Sparkle and Telsy, must also provide prior information on “every and all decisions that may reduce or transfer technological, operating, and industrial capacity in the strategic activities”.
While TIM houses Telecom Italia’s core telecoms business, Sparkle operates its global backbone and data centre activities. Telsy is its security unit and is certified by the Italian National Authority for Security as a supplier.