Vivendi withdrew from a bid to remove several members of Telecom Italia’s board and publicly backed the operator’s CEO, Financial Times reported, hours before its proposal was set to be voted on by the Italian operator’s shareholders.

Sources at the meeting told the newspaper the France-based company requested its petition was revoked at the opening of the Telecom Italia meeting at 11am CET today (29 March). Its move comes two weeks after reports proxy advisers had warned shareholders against voting for the proposal.

The about-turn is surprising given Vivendi has been aggressively pressing for an urgent vote on removal of the board members since December 2018. It also made a number of scathing comments about the performance and actions of the operator’s current executive team.

After Vivendi was informed the issue would be discussed at the shareholder meeting in March, it accused the operator of “delaying tactics” which it said had a “greater negative impact on TIM’s financial results every day.”

Long-standing dispute
Vivendi, which is operator’s largest single shareholder, has been waging a war of words since it lost control of Telecom Italia’s board in May 2018.

Its campaign reached a new level of intensity when Telecom Italia CEO, and former Vivendi employee, Amos Genish was ousted and replaced by Luigi Gubitosi in November. 

In addition to the withdrawal of its request for a vote on the make-up of the board, Vivendi publicly backed Gubitosi.