Vivendi denies it controls Telecom Italia under Italian law

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 07, 2017 1:06 PM

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) - Vivendi has no "de facto control" over Telecom Italia under Italian law, the French media group said on Monday in response to a demand from Italy's markets regulator.

Acknowledging "sole control" over Telecom Italia would compel Vivendi to consolidate its accounts, including an adjusted net financial debt of 25 billion euros ($29.6 billion).

Led by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, Vivendi has shaken up Telecom Italia's governance since becoming its biggest shareholder, with a 24 percent stake, and placing two of its top executives at the helm.

However, Bollore's growing influence has come under increased scrutiny from Italian authorities because the telecoms operator is considered a strategic asset by Rome.

"(Vivendi's) participation in Telecom Italia is not sufficient enough to allow it to exercise, on a stable basis, a dominant influence at Telecom Italia shareholders’ meetings," Vivendi said in a statement.

Vivendi, which has a market capitalization of 25.8 billion euros, issued the statement in response to a formal request from Italy's markets watchdog Consob.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; editing by Alexander Smith)