April 5, 2018 / 7:02 PM / in a year

Vivendi presents board candidates for Telecom Italia in bid to please investors

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s Vivendi (VIV.PA) presented a new list of candidates for the board of Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) (TIM) on Thursday in a bid to alleviate concerns raised by activist fund Elliott Advisors on the governance of the group.

The list of ten candidates is led by Telecom Italia’s boss Amos Genish and includes his counterpart at Vivendi, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, who is proposed as non-executive chairman.

Vivendi released the list for the general meeting on May 4.

This follows the sudden resignation of TIM’s former board on March 22. That move was widely perceived as pre-empting Elliott’s bid to change the way Vivendi, TIM’s top shareholder with a stake of close to 24 percent, runs the company.

“In putting forward this list, we have listened carefully to the views of shareholders and other key stakeholders,” de Puyfontaine said in a written statement.

“We have made changes to strengthen the technical competence of the Board as well as drawing on a wider range of expertise and opinions.”

Vivendi has built up its stake in TIM since 2015, progressively tightening its grip on the group. It appointed two-thirds of the Italian phone group’s board last year.

The hands-on approach of the media giant, itself controlled and led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, has fuelled tensions with the Italian government.

Rome, which considers TIM of strategic national importance, eventually used its so-called “golden power” to ensure it had a say in some strategic decisions at TIM.

Elliott has built a potential holding of 5.7 percent in TIM and made its demands public last month.

Italian state lender CDP confirmed late on Thursday that it would buy up to 5 percent of TIM, in a move intended to safeguard Rome’s interest the group.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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