Italy top court upholds ruling that Vivendi controls Telecom Italia

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Italy top court upholds ruling that Vivendi controls Telecom Italia

Vivendi's logo is seen in Paris.

MILAN Reuters -- Italy's supreme court upheld a ruling that had annulled a market regulator's resolution indicating French media group Vivendi was exercising 'de facto control' of Telecom Italia TIM a court document showed on Wednesday.

Italian market watchdog Consob ruled that TIM, the top shareholder with a 24% stake, took control of two-thirds of the Italian phone company's board in 2017.

Activist fund Elliott took over control from Vivendi the following year.

In 2020, Italy's top administrative court dissolved the resolution of Consob, which was subsequently appealed that decision.

Vivendi wouldn't say anything. Consob didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

The supreme court'ssupreme court's ruling came as Vivendi is calling for governance changes in Telecom Italia to better reflect the relative weight of shareholders.

The ruling, published on Tuesday, could give the French group the chance to present its own list of candidates to win TIM's board control without being forced to consolidate the former phone monopoly's financial accounts, including its 25.5 billion euro debt pile.

After the French group's CEO left his seat earlier this month, no Vivendi's representative sits on TIM's board of directors.

In 2021, Vivendi and Italy's state lender CDP backed a slate of candidates presented by TIM's board.

A revamp of the former phone monopoly centred on a asset-split, and led to a 2 investor CDP.

Sources said that parties involved in the talks failed to find common ground on key issues in the first round of negotiations in December, with asset valuations, debt and staff allocations remaining key issues.