Telecom Italia won a legal appeal to block an election to replace six directors at the company’s AGM, scuppering plans from activist investor Elliott Management to install its own candidates at the helm of the operator this week.

The election was controversially added to the agenda of the company’s annual shareholder meeting, taking place tomorrow (24 April), at the request of Elliott Management. It followed the majority of Telecom Italia’s board announcing their intention to quit and trigger an election of all directors on 4 May.

Its current board – controlled by largest shareholder Vivendi – appealed the decision and, after a ruling in its favour by a Milan court, will now proceed with its original plan.

In a statement, Elliott Management said the decision was “only a delay of democracy, not a denial of democracy” and reiterated shareholders could “express their wish” at the May vote.

Previously, Elliott Management had called the mass board walk-out an attempt to stall for time.

At the election on 4 May, Vivendi is expected to put forward a slate of executives alongside independent and Elliott Management-nominated directors.

The battle for control of Telecom Italia comes amid a long-running war of words between Vivendi, Elliott Management and authorities in Italy.