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Vivendi mulls options to recapture initiative in Telecom Italia battle

Vivendi is looking into convening a new Telecom Italia (TIM) shareholders meeting to “reorganise” the telco’s board of directors following its loss of control of the telco’s board to a slate supported by activist investor Elliott Advisors.

Speaking to analysts after Vivendi posted its Q1 numbers, CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine, who was also TIM chairman before Elliott’s slate secured the support of shareholders, Vivendi was fully behind TIM CEO Amos Genish’s 2020 industrial plan, but that “the new governance is a concern to us”.

De Puyfontaine said that “the risk of dismantling” and governance that did “not take into account the shareholders’ interest” had led Vivendi to look at its options, including convening a new shareholders meeting.

Genish has made fulfillment of the TIM 2020 plan a condition of his staying on as CEO and has said he is confident of the support of the board.

TIM’s Q1 results this were hit by a fine levied on the company for failing to properly notify the Italian government of Vivendi’s controlling interest, a fine that the telco is contesting.

Separately De Puyfontaine said that Vivendi was looking at options for “a potential change in the shareholding structure” of Universal Music Group.

Vivendi has previously raised the prospect of a potential listing for UMG, which saw its Q1 turnover grow by 4.5% to €1.22 billion.

De Puyfontaine said that Vivendi was “completely agnostic” about the various options for UMG.

He said that UMG was the “backbone” of Vivendi’s strategy and also that UMG would “remain a shareholder of Spotify because we there is potential for the future”.