Vivendi abandons move to replace Telecom Italia board

Vivendi has abandoned attempts to replace Telecom Italia (TIM) board members nominated by arch-foe Elliott Advisors and has said it is “prepared to give credit” to CEO Luigi Gubitosi’s request for it to withdraw its motion.

Vivendi did not provide details about what Gubitosi had promised.

The meeting of TIM shareholders requested by Vivendi as part of a move to regain control of the board took place yesterday, approving the company’s accounts for 2018 and naming Ernst & Young as external auditors until 2027.

Vivendi pulled its motion proposing the revocation of the mandates of five board members and the election of an alternative slate at the 11th hour, after it became clear that the French media group could not command the support of sufficient shareholders to overturn the board.

“As publicly known, Vivendi has invested €4 billion in TIM. As a long-term industrial shareholder, Vivendi sees a lot of potential for the company and has always expressed its willingness to establish the best conditions to restore value at Telecom Italia,” said Caroline Le Masne de Chermont, Vivendi group head of legal affairs.

She said that “Vivendi is more interested than any other shareholder in re-establishing an harmonious and collegial Board governance that supports the management in conceiving and implementing value creation plans, in the interest of the company, its shareholders and its employees.”

Le Masne de Chermont said it was now time to focus “on the changes we would like to see in the near future” with a board that was “more reflective of the company’s shareholder base and to be led in an independent, transparent and fully inclusive manner”.

She added that “what needs to occur next, may at this stage be left in the hands of the Board members and their individual conscience. However, said Le Masne de Chermont, if the Gubitosi makes good on promises he has made, “he can count on our loyal and stable support as the company’s largest shareholder.”

The shareholders meeting did not approve TIM’s remuneration policy for 2019 and rejected an update on the company’s long-term incentive plan.

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