Telecom Italia and Vivendi have again told the Italian government they did not need to inform it of ownership changes at the operator, Reuters reported.

The government is investigating whether Vivendi holds enough power to impose conditions or veto decisions at Telecom Italia, and thus potentially threaten national interests. Vivendi is the operator’s main shareholder with a 24 per cent stake, and recently increased its influence on Telecom Italia’s board.

Italy’s government had given the companies until 24 August to submit their position on the matter. A source told Reuters the responses were sent on 23 August, and Telecom Italia reiterated its view there is no obligation to inform the government.

Telecom Italia last week said Vivendi was not breaching Italian rules aimed at protecting companies considered of national interest. The operator even commissioned legal experts to provide an opinion on Vivendi’s role, which faced scrutiny after the French media group also built up a 29 per cent stake in Italian broadcaster Mediaset.

The experts said Vivendi’s role centred around management of Telecom Italia, with no suggestion of changes in ownership or control of the company or its assets.

Vivendi previously told Italian market regulator Consob it believes it does not exercise control over Telecom Italia.