MILAN/MADRID Dec 19 Telefonica said on
Thursday it had no agreement with BlackRock over Telecom
Italia as it sought to dispel concerns it was
manoeuvring behind the scenes ahead of a shareholder vote over
control of the Italian phone group.
Telecom Italia's shareholders meet on Friday to decide
whether to oust the board in an attempt by dissident investors
to weaken the increasingly powerful influence of Telefonica. The
outcome of the vote is uncertain.
BlackRock emerged as Telecom Italia's second-biggest
investors this week with a stake of around 10 percent, giving it
a potentially pivotal role in the Telecom Italia vote.
Italy's market regulator Consob has questioned the U.S.
money manager's stake disclosures and is trying to ascertain
whether the U.S. fund acted on its own, or in agreement with
other parties, including Telefonica.
"Telefonica has no agreement with BlackRock in relation with
Telecom Italia," Telefonica said.
In a statement to Spain's stock market regulator, Telefonica
also said it had neither bought nor had any plans to buy any
shares with voting rights in Telecom Italia.
Under a shareholder agreement, Telefonica is banned from
increasing its almost 15 percent indirect stake in Telecom
Italia unless another shareholder controls more than 10 percent
of the capital of the Italian firm.
Telefonica and a group of Italian financial institutions
control Telecom Italia through investment vehicle Telco, which
owns 22.4 percent of the Italian phone company.
Telefonica recently secured an option to gradually take over
the stakes of its partners in Telco from 2014.