Italian telco’s board votes in favour of legal challenge to Vivendi control ruling

TIM has confirmed that it will launch a legal challenge against last week’s ruling from Consob that its largest shareholder Vivendi is able to exercise control over it.

In a short announcement late on Tuesday, the Italian operator said that its directors have examined the market watchdog’s verdict and concluded they intend to lodge an appeal.

"While assuring the company’s full compliance with the discipline that such qualification implies, the board has nonetheless confirmed, with a majority vote, the intention to challenge the decision in the qualified court, as already announced," the telco said.

Vivendi nominated 10 of the 15 members of TIM’s board in May.

That in itself was a major driver behind Consob’s ruling a week ago that Vivendi exercises de facto control of TIM, the new name for Telecom Italia, despite the fact that the French firm does not hold more than 50% of the telco’s shares. Vivendi’s stake stands at 23.94%.

According to Consob, Vivendi can be considered to control TIM because it has sufficient voting rights to control the election of directors and the direction of ordinary shareholder meetings.

The ruling, which could enable the government to levy a fine on the company or even force the sale of assets – Telecom Italia Sparkle is reportedly in the firing line, since it is considered a strategic national asset – has understandably not found favour with TIM or its major shareholder.

The parties have the right to appeal to the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio within 60 days, Consob said last week.