MILAN, Dec 14 (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc almost doubled its stake in Telecom Italia to 10 percent at the end of November to become its second-largest shareholder, according to documents published by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The move by the world’s largest money manager could potentially tip the balance at a shareholder meeting due to vote on a proposal to oust the board of the Italian phone company.
Businessman Marco Fossati, an influential investor with a 5 percent stake, and small shareholders group ASATI are seeking the dismissal of the board, saying they favour the interests of core shareholders such as Spain’s Telefonica.
If a majority of shareholders ditch the current board, led by Chief Executive Marco Patuano, they would then choose a new team of directors. The shareholder meeting is due to take place on Dec. 20.
Telefonica owns 6.6 percent of holding company Telco, which controls Telecom Italia with a 22.4 percent stake and whose Italian investors are insurer Generali and banks Mediobanca and Intesa Sanpaolo.
Blackrock’s stake in Telecom Italia is split among several funds.