Vivendi remains Telecom Italia’s biggest shareholder, with a stake of approximately 24%

Telecom Italia‘s biggest shareholder, Vivendi, has withdrawn its petition to remove 5 board members loyal to activist investor, Elliott Management Fund.

TIM’s boardroom is currently embroiled in the grips of a battle between its biggest shareholder Vivendi and activist investor fund Elliott Management. Elliott currently controls the fragile balance of power in the TIM boardroom, since it succeeded in getting 5 of its members elected to directorship last year. Vivendi subsequently called for an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to be held in March to remove the Elliott backed directors from their roles.

However, Vivendi’s head of legal affairs, Caroline Le Masne de Chermont, said that Vivendi had withdrawn its application out of deference to the company’s CEO, Luigi Gubitosi.

“As publicly known, Vivendi has invested €4bn 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.

"Therefore, 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.

"As extensively expressed in our request, we asked the shareholders to vote for a change of governance, because what happened in and around the Board since last May has affected the stock price, and the whole functioning of the company.

"However, there is no point in revisiting here and now the events of the last year, particularly those that cannot be changed," she said.

In a detailed statement to the press, de Chermont said that Vivendi would focus on the changes it wanted to see implemented at TIM over the coming months.  

"Vivendi wishes TIM’s board to be more reflective of the company’s shareholder base and to be led in an independent, transparent and fully inclusive manner.

"To conclude, we are prepared to give credit to the CEO. Accordingly, following his suggestion, Vivendi has decided not to pursue today its proposal to revoke and replace five Board members, provided that this has the support of the shareholders’ meeting.

"What needs to occur next, may at this stage be left in the hands of the Board members and their individual conscience.

"What we can say is that if change does occur as the CEO announced, he can count on our loyal and stable support as the company’s largest shareholder,” she concluded. 

Also in the news:

Telecom Italia backs CEO ahead of boardroom showdown 

TIM appoints new CEO to steady the ship

Vivendi receives set back in its bid to regain the TIM boardroom