French conglomerate Vivendi continued upping its stake in Telecom Italia (TI), making purchases that has taken it past the 20 per cent mark.
The company issued a statement on Friday which said it owned 20.03 per cent of the Italian incumbent, a slight increase from the 19.9 per cent it owned at the start of October 2015. Vivendi became TI’s biggest shareholder after events initiated by consolidation in Brazil, when it took on Telefonica’s stake in TI as part of the payment for its GVT broadband unit, which was acquired by the Spanish player.
In a terse statement, Vivendi reiterated its intention “to be a long term shareholder of the Italian telecoms group and, more generally, to develop Vivendi’s activities in Southern Europe”.
While Vivendi had spent some time selling-off its telecoms assets in the past (SFR in France and Maroc Telecom in several African markets), it has taken to its TI ownership with renewed vigour. But it has not stated what its long term ambitions with Telecom Italia are.
At the point it became TI’s biggest shareholder, Vivendi said it gives it an opportunity “to be present and to expand in a market with significant growth prospects and a very strong appetite for quality content”.
Vivendi is also in the midst of a similar volte face in the games market. Having previously sold its controlling stake in Activision Blizzard, it has now bought (and subsequently increased) stakes in Gameloft and Ubisoft, similarly without detailing a longer-term strategy.