CORRECTED-Telecom Italia's core investor to vote against board's removal

Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:58pm EST

(Corrects number of names put forward by funds to 7 from 14)

MILAN Nov 22 (Reuters) - Telco, which controls Telecom Italia via a 22.4 percent stake, said on Friday it will vote against a proposal to remove the current board of the phone company at a shareholder meeting next month.

Telecom Italia shareholders are to meet on Dec. 20 to vote on the removal of the board, a proposal made by minority investor Findim, which owns 5 percent of the company.

Findim and some retail investors in Telecom Italia have been in an uproar over a recent deal that gives Spain's Telefonica , which is a member of holding company Telco, the option to gain control of Italy's largest phone group without having to launch a takeover bid.

Telco, which appointed the majority of the phone company's current board, said in a statement that its own board "has decided to vote against the proposal of shareholder Findim".

If shareholders revoke the board then they will have to vote on a new slate of directors.

Telco's statement listed three candidates it would put forward in this case. They are Marco Patuano, current CEO of the phone company, Julio Linares, Telefonica's chief operating officer, and law professor Stefania Bariati.

In a separate statement, representatives of 14 Italian and foreign institutional investors, with a combined stake of 1.585 percent, put forward seven names including current Telecom Italia independent directors Luigi Zingales and Lucia Calvosa.

The 14 funds, which are members of industry body Assogestioni, did not disclose their voting plans.

Analysts say chances of the board being removed are slim because some large funds are seen voting against the move.

Besides Telefonica, Telco's members are Italian banks Intesa and Mediobanca and insurer Generali .

Findim has said it would vote for the list presented by Assogestioni. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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