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TIM holds firm as government mulls implementing Golden Power

Telecom ItaliaTelecom Italia (TIM) has reiterated its view that it was not obliged to notify the Italian authorities that Vivendi had a controlling interest in the group, following a ruling by the government’s Golden Power committee last week that should have made such a notification.

TIM issued a statement saying that it had never resolved or implemented “any action or operation which may have changed ownership, control or availability of the [Italian] electronic communication network subject to the law on golden power” and that the network had stayed in its full ownership, control and availability.

TIM said that this fact rendered it irrelevant whether Vivendi had or had not taken control of TIM, arguing that there is no requirement to notify the transfer of control of the company to a European player.

TIM said that no fine had yet been imposed on it for breaking the rules, and that it would “continue to assert its arguments before the competent courts, certain that it has acted in compliance with the laws”.

Carlo Calenda

Carlo Calenda

As reported by the paper in an interview on Saturday, Italy’s minister of economic development Carlo Calenda told Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore that the government would decide whether to activate the Golden Power allowing it to intervene directly in cases where strategic assets are threatened by the end of October.

Calenda said that the government’s key concern was over the governance of Sparkle, the TIM division that controls submarine cables. He said that any moves by the government would be “balanced and non-punitive”.

Calenda told Il Sole 24 Ore that the government was not in talks with TIM but reiterated that the government was keen to ensure that the telco’s access network remained open, secure and neutral and that it is modernized. He said the government would remain “vigilant” in relation to possible conflicts of interest in relation to this.

Calenda said that last week’s appointment of Amos Genish as the new CEO of Telecom Italia was a matter for the company, and also emphasized that there was no connection between the TIM case and that of Fincantieri – the Italian company that acquired a key naval shipyard in France only to face a move to nationalize it later.