Vivendi moves towards control of Telecom Italia

Bill Boyle
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Vivendi has informed the European Commission it may control Telecom Italia after the next scheduled shareholder meeting in May

Vivendi has informed the European Commission (EC) it could 'in fact' control Telecom Italia if a planned shareholder meeting, due to take place in May, appoints a new board of directors.

Reuters news agency reported today that Vivendi, which has a share of the company which presently stands at approximate 24%, will make the move at the May shareholder's meeting. It has filed a declaration to the EC saying that it will probably control at least two-thirds of the organisation’s board seats after the meeting.

To carry out this manoeuvre it has to get its slate of nominees approved by a majority of shareholders at the May 4 meeting.

An EU Commission spokesperson confirmed to Reuters it had received a notification from Vivendi and was preparing to rule on the issue on May 12.

"The investigation is ongoing," spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said.

It has been rumoured that Vivendi was going to put its chief executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine forward as Telecom Italia's next chairman.

However, this is unlikely as it would potentially aggravate concerns about the French group's growing influence over Telecom Italia. 

Vivendi has avoided a major row about ownership but now looks as if it is ready to bite the bullet and take the subsequent flack.