February 4, 2019 / 8:28 PM / in 3 months

Telecom Italia auditors unable to convene shareholder meeting requested by Vivendi

FILE PHOTO: Telecom Italia's logo at its headquarter in Milan, Italy, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia auditors are unable to meet a request by leading investor Vivendi for them to call a shareholder meeting this month to replace five board members, they said on Monday.

In a statement the auditors said the conditions for them to exercise the powers to convene the meeting did not exist.

TIM has been caught up in a battle between Vivendi and U.S. activist fund Elliott since early last year over how to revive Italy’s biggest phone company.

Elliott, which owns 9.4 percent of TIM, wrested control from Vivendi in May by appointing two thirds of the board after accusing the French investor of serving only its own interests.

Vivendi, meanwhile, has accused Elliott of being an opportunistic financial investor. Vivendi, which owns about 24 percent of TIM, asked the company in December for a shareholder meeting to replace the five board members put forward by Elliott.

After TIM set a date of March 29, Vivendi asked the group’s auditors in January to investigate the workings of the company’s board and for them to convene a shareholder meeting before the end of February.

In their statement on Monday the auditors said their investigations were still under way, adding that they reserved the right to review their opinion on a meeting depending on their findings.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by David Goodman

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