Vivendi ups stake in Telecom Italia to 24.9%

The Vivendi office is seen in Paris on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.Vivendi has reportedly upped its stake in Telecom Italia to 24.9%, taking it close to the limit that would trigger an obligatory public offer to take over the Italian telco.

According to various press reports, citing the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Vivendi now owns almost a quarter of the stock of Telecom Italia, following its purchase of an additional 148 million shares between March 1 and March 9 for €155 million.

Vivendi has increased its influence with Telecom Italia in stages over the last few months, upping its stake and securing the appointment of four additional members of the Telecom Italia board. The French media group has also reportedly pressed for the replacement of Telecom Italia chief executive Marco Patuano and a change in the company’s strategic focus.