ROME (Reuters) - Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) and its main shareholder Vivendi (VIV.PA) have sent the Italian government their views on whether they should have notified it of a change of ownership at the phone company, a source close to the matter said.
“The opinions were sent on Wednesday,” the source said.
Vivendi, which owns 24 percent of the former Italian telecom monopolist, acknowledged on July 27 “direction and coordination activity” at Telecom Italia (TIM) but denied, in early August, it had “de facto control” under Italian law.
Rome is looking into whether Vivendi failed to meet an obligation to notify it of its effective control of a firm it considers a strategic national asset.
Its investigation aims at establishing whether the French media giant actually controls TIM and, in consequence, if Rome can exercise special powers over it.
“TIM reiterated it believes there was no obligation to notify the government,” the source said.
Earlier this month legal experts commissioned by TIM to give an opinion on Vivendi’s growing influence over the company said the French group’s role at TIM only related to management of the company and did not imply any change of ownership.
The government had given the two companies until the end of Wednesday to present their positions.
A spokesman for Vivendi confirmed that documents were due on Wednesday but did not say if they had been presented or what the papers contained.
The Italian Industry ministry could not immediately be reached for a comment.
Reporting by Alberto Sisto, additional reporting by Andy Callus in Paris, writing by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Diane Craft