Vivendi must declare whether or not it controls Telecom Italia by today, following an order from the country’s market regulator Consob.
Local publication Il Sole 24 Ore reported Consob, through French counterpart Autorite des Marches Financiers, made the request and Vivendi must now make its declaration to the French authority.
Late last week, Telecom Italia said its top shareholder Vivendi had started to “direct and coordinate” its activity following a decision to appoint one of its own managers at the operator.
The announcement came in response to a request by Consob, which reportedly demanded evidence Vivendi had informed the government it was exercising “de facto” control over Telecom Italia.
In Telecom Italia’s latest financial report, the company said its board of directors: “acknowledged the beginning of the direction and coordination activity over TIM by Vivendi”.
Telecom Italia stated Vivendi had informed its board of directors and executive chairman – who is also Vivendi’s CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine – it had started “the direction and coordination activity” with regards to two specific points.
The first was: “to strengthen the company’s management team with the arrival at TIM of a senior executive from Vivendi Group”.
Notably, Vivendi’s chief convergence officer Amos Genish was last month named as Telecom Italia’s operations chief, following the departure of Flavio Cattaneo as CEO of the operator.
The second occasion was with regards to a joint venture project between Telecom Italia and Canal Group Plus: “as a further indication of the desire, also in the context of the existing strategic plan, a form of coordination between the two corporate groups in the multimedia sector”.
Telecom Italia added its board had not addressed the issue of whether Vivendi taking control was compliant with Italian law.
The Italian publication added that if Vivendi does indeed declare it is controlling Telecom Italia, it must consolidate the operator’s debt pile into its accounts. The Italian government could also step into the issue because Telecom Italia is a company considered of national interest.
Following the departure of Cattaneo as CEO, Telecom Italia handed most of his powers to de Puyfontaine while Vivendi searches for a long term successor.