Vivendi secures majority on Telecom Italia board

The Vivendi office is seen in Paris on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.Vivendi has secured a two-thirds majority on the board of Telecom Italia (TIM). The French media group is the Italian telco’s largest shareholder with a 23.94% stake.

Following the company’s ordinary shareholders’ meeting chaired by Guiseppe Recchi, the new board comprises 15 members rather than the 17 it had previously.

The shareholders’ meeting approved TIM’s 2016 financial statements, which recorded a profit of €1.896 billion, and the distribution of a privileged dividend of 2.75 cents per share to holders of ‘savings share’ only.

The new board includes Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine, CFO Hervé Philippe and general counsel Frédéric Crépin.

A list of five candidates proposed by Assogestioni, an association of Italian investment groups, was also approved.

Two investment advisory groups, Iss and Glass Lewis, had called on shareholders to abstain on Vivendi’s list and vote for the Assogestioni list in the belief that these candidates would best represent the interests of minority shareholders.

Vivendi has yet to secure one of its key goals – the appointment of Arnaud de Puyfontaine as chairman of the telco. De Puyfontaine, currently vice-chairman, had previously indicated that a decision on this would be taken after the annual meeting, when the new board meets today. However, some press reports have indicated that the decision could be delayed until the European Commission rules on Vivendi’s prior notification that it would now be able to take de facto control of Telecom Italia.

The securing of a majority on TIM’s board’s reaffirms Vivendi’s decision to place the telco at the heart of its strategy for the Italian market. The company is embroiled in a regulatory dispute that saw Italian competition watchdog AGCOM rule that it could not simultaneously hold stakes in Telecom Italia and Mediaset, in which Vivendi holds close to a 30% stake. Vivendi is contesting the ruling.

“Vivendi welcomes the composition of Telecom Italia’s new Board of Directors, which was approved by the company’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on May 4, 2017. The new team, which brings together a wide variety of recognised skills, will be a valuable asset in the development of the Italian company’s strategy and in meeting its challenges in the months and years to come,” said Vivendi.

“Vivendi reaffirms its long term commitment to Telecom Italia and its desire to create significant value for the telecoms operator’s customers, employees and shareholders,” the company added.