Telecom Italia prepared to fight constraints slapped on the company by Italy’s government amid fears over Vivendi’s control, La Repubblica reported.
A pair of special requirements, known as golden powers, were placed on the company during October and November with a compliance deadline of 90 days. According to the newspaper, the operator’s lawyers are in the process of preparing an extraordinary appeal to the President of the Republic in a bid to have both orders overturned.
Golden power measures can be placed on companies operating in business areas deemed strategically important to the country, which includes communications infrastructure.
Under the rule imposed in October, Telecom Italia must give responsibility for elements of the business considered significant for national security to an individual who is an Italian citizen, holds security clearance, and is approved by the government.
The November decree imposed specific requirements for the deployment, security and maintenance of its network infrastructure.
Imposition of golden power orders came amid ongoing investigations by Italian authorities into the growing influence of largest shareholder Vivendi on Telecom Italia.
In the last 12 months, Vivendi secured a majority on the company’s board and appointed its CEO as chairman of Telecom Italia. The operator’s new CEO Amos Genish is a recent Vivendi employee.
Reports of Telecom Italia’s planned legal challenge came hours after Genish met with Italy’s minister of economy, Carlo Calenda, to discuss a range of matters including ongoing issues between the operator and the authorties.
Reports in the Italian media today (21 November) suggest the meeting went well, though no specific details were released.
Prior to the meeting, II Sole 24 Ore reported comments from Calenda claiming Vivendi had treated Italy “as if we were French Guiana” (a French overseas territory) by not notifying the government it had taken control of Telecom Italia.
The minister added he wanted to make it clear they were “a country that must be taken seriously”.
Vivendi denies the government’s various accusations on its business practices.