Telecom Italia’s (TIM’s) largest shareholder Vivendi slammed a decision by the operator’s board to approve a sale of fixed network assets to KKR for €18.8 billion, vowing to use any legal means possible to challenge the move.

Vivendi has had numerous run-ins with TIM chiefs and other shareholders over the years and claimed the board’s decision to sell fixed spin-off NetCo without a shareholder vote contravenes governance rules.

It also claims requests made through various channels to the board, auditors and the regulator “aimed at protecting all shareholders and preventing such a prejudicial situation, have been completely ignored”.

Vivendi had been widely reported as opposing the sale on terms expected when TIM and KKR entered exclusive negotiations. The French company held a near 24 per cent stake in the Italian operator, based on its latest disclosure in June.

Its objection came swiftly after TIM’s board approved the deal with KKR and provided full details of the offer.

TIM noted the initial €18.8 billion including debt could rise to €22 billion if certain conditions are met. It intends to cut its debt by €14 billion using some of the proceeds.

The deal is expected to close in 2024 subject to regulatory approval.

Alongside the asset sale, TIM noted there is an expected master services agreement set to be signed at closing regulating the terms for services exchanged between the pair.

KKR’s non-binding offer for TIM’s stake in wholesale unit Sparkle, which was negotiated alongside the NetCo deal, was considered unsatisfactory.

TIM CEO Pietro Labriola is set to attempt to negotiate a higher price with the deadline for receiving a final offer revised to 5 December.