Auditors to examine TIM ahead of board meeting

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Auditors to examine TIM ahead of board meeting

MILAN Reuters -- Telecom Italia's auditors and risk committee will examine its financial health on Thursday ahead of a board meeting that could decide the future of Italy's biggest phone group and its chief executive, sources told Reuters.

Italy's former telecoms monopoly has received a 10.8 billion euro $12 billion buyout from U.S. private equity group KKR in the middle of a boardroom row between CEO Luigi Gubitosi and top investor Vivendi.

After two profit warnings since July, Vivendi is pushing for a change at the helm of TIM, due to a costly deal with DAZN to screen Italy's top soccer matches, which didn't boost its revenue.

Auditors will examine TIM's earnings and determine whether a third profit warning is necessary as a result of the DAZN rights deal, Italian newspapers reported.

A third downgrade to TIM's outlook would strengthen Vivendi's hand in seeking a change of CEO.

Gubitosi has close ties with KKR, which bought a 37.5% stake in Telecom Italia's last-mile grid last year and is trying to preserve its investment.

Any management reshuffle could complicate KKR's plans to pursue its offer, which is conditional on the support of the board and the government's approval.

Rome, which is TIM's second largest investor through state-lender CDP, has special anti-takeover powers to protect companies it considers strategic from foreign bids. CDP has not opposed major management changes at TIM, sources said.

TIM shares were down 5% to 0.4723 euros at 1335 GMT.