More turmoil at TIM as Vivendi calls for shareholders’ meeting

More turmoil at TIM as Vivendi calls for shareholders’ meeting

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Vivendi has re-opened its battle over the future of Telecom Italia with its rival shareholder, the activist fund Elliott Management.

This morning the French media company called for a new meeting of shareholders and for five of Elliott’s 10 representatives on the TIM board to be removed.

The statement comes five days after the existing TIM board decided not to hold a shareholders’ meeting.

“This decision, like many others before, goes against all the rules of proper corporate governance and is a source of disorganisation,” said Vivendi in a public statement.

As TIM’s largest single shareholder, with about 24%, Vivendi effectively controlled the company until a shareholders’ meeting earlier this year, when Elliott gathered enough votes to remove many of the Vivendi-nominated directors from the board – but former Vivendi executive Amos Genish remained CEO until he was ousted last month.

TIM had been denying that Genish would be removed until the moment he was, in fact, removed. It was clear that the Elliott representatives on the board had a successor in mind. Just a few days later the board appointed former Wind CEO Luigi Gubitosi – already a director – to take over from Genish.

That seemed to mark the point at which Elliott’s campaign for control of TIM had succeeded.

Now Vivendi has started to fight back. It said this morning: “Vivendi has decided to write to the board before the end of the week, to urge it to convene a shareholders’ meeting as soon as possible to appoint new financial auditors, revoke five current board members from the Elliott list of ten, particularly those who were involved in these governance issues, and propose five new ones.”