April 27, 2018 / 6:35 AM / 3 months ago

Elliott calls on Telecom Italia shareholders to back new board

MILAN, April 27 (Reuters) - Activist fund Elliott stepped up pressure on Telecom Italia (TIM) shareholders to change the group’s board at a May 4 vote, in a move to reduce Vivendi’s influence and remove “an impediment to TIM’s full potential”.

The two groups have engaged in a fierce war of words since Elliott became TIM’s second-largest investor, with a stake of 9 percent.

Elliott is pushing to shake-up the way top investor Vivendi, which holds a 24 percent stake, runs the former state monopoly.

“Put plainly, Vivendi’s repeated missteps have eroded the value of your investment,” Elliott said in a letter to TIM shareholders dated April 26.

The fund has repeatedly said that TIM’s share price, strategy and valuation had suffered under Vivendi’s leadership and accused the French media group of only serving its own interests.

“With proper stewardship at the board level, and a highly qualified independent board of directors, TIM’s prospects are bright,” the fund wrote in the document.

Elliott reiterated its support for TIM Chief Executive Amos Genish, his management team and his business plan and added that a “refreshed, highly qualified, independent board” could ensure the CEO then has the support needed to execute the new strategy.

On Thursday, Vivendi had said Elliott’s vote in favour of Genish at an April 24 AGM showed its “inconsistency”.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; editing by Jason Neely

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