ROME, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Italy’s industry minister wants the government to look into whether French group Vivendi duly informed the prime minister’s office of it exercising de facto control over Telecom Italia (TIM).
Because the phone company is considered a strategic national asset, Italian rules state that the government must be notified of any change in control or ownership within 10 days of its taking place.
A statement posted on the government’s website said Industry Minister Carlo Calenda wanted the government to check whether Vivendi had respected those rules.
Vivendi is TIM’s top investor with a 24 percent stake and recently tightened its grip on the Italian group by appointing two thirds of the board and playing a key role in the departure of CEO Flavio Cattaneo last month.
On July 27, when TIM released its half-year results, it said in a statement that its board had “acknowledged the beginning of the direction and coordination activity over Telecom Italia.”
A source close to the matter said Vivendi could risk a fine if it was established that it did not inform the government in a timely manner. Rome can veto the acquisition of stakes in TIM or changes in control over the company, but only when the buyer comes from outside the European Union.
Vivendi was not immediately available for comment.
Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri