Italian telco says it is merely seeking to comply with the law; it does not believe it is required to make any such notification

TIM this week confirmed that it has notified the government of its change in ownership, as required under the state’s so-called Golden Power decree, but insists it merely made the move to stay on the right side of the law and still does not believe its situation should require it to make the notification.

The Italian incumbent said it made the notification "with the sole purpose of staying aligned" with a government ruling on 28 September.

It continues to believe, however, that "no notification was due and, in keeping with its interests, [TIM] will continue to asset its arguments before the competent courts," it said in a statement.

The issue of notification stems from the ongoing controversy regarding Vivendi’s position as TIM’s major shareholder.

The French firm does not have a majority stake in TIM – it holds 24% – but Italian watchdog Consob recently ruled that it exercises de facto control over the Italian telecoms incumbent because it controls the board of directors and can influence the direction of shareholder meetings.

As a company of strategic national importance, TIM should have informed the government of any change of control, something it did not do previously because it challenges the assertion that is controlled by Vivendi.

The government has the power to censure TIM and is due to make an announcement soon on whether it will fine the company for the breach of procedure.

In addition, there is significant speculation in the market about the future of the telco’s network assets. There has been talk of hiving off TIM’s domestic network into a separate company, and of the possibility of spinning off, and even selling, international wholesale operator Telecom Italia Sparkle.