Vivendi vowed to contest Italian market watchdog Consob’s view it effectively controls Telecom Italia, as a to-and-fro between the pair regarding the operator’s ownership continues.
In a statement, Vivendi said it took note of Consob’s stance the company exercises de facto control over Telecom Italia through a 24 per cent stake in the operator. The media group “formally contests” the watchdog’s view, reiterating it “has always complied with applicable law and regulations”.
Vivendi said it will file a court appeal to Consob’s position regarding its ownership.
The company issued the statement after Consob again stated it effectively controlled Telecom Italia. The comments are the latest in an ongoing spat between Vivendi and Italy’s government, which Reuters reported is considering using special powers to limit Vivendi’s influence to protect national interests.
In recent months, Vivendi appointed ten of Telecom Italia’s 15-person board and placed its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine at the helm of the operator as acting chief following the departure of Flavio Cattaneo in July.
However, Italian media reports in early September indicated Telecom Italia is searching for a permanent replacement for Cattaneo, with deputy chairman Giuseppe Recchi a hot tip for the role.
Vivendi is under fire in Italy because it also holds a stake in broadcaster Mediaset, prompting concerns it breaches Italian laws covering ownership and control in the communication and media sectors.
The company initiated a series of actions to appease the government, including offering to restrict its voting rights in Mediaset in response to a demand by regulator Agcom for the company to cut its stake in one of its two Italian businesses. In early August, Vivendi stated it does not exercise de facto control of Telecom Italia, in response to a Consob order to clarify its position.