January 25, 2019 / 9:24 AM / 8 months ago

Vivendi asks Telecom Italia auditors to investigate board

MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia’s main shareholder Vivendi has asked the company’s auditors to probe the workings of the firm’s board and general governance issues, according to a document seen by Reuters on Friday.

Vivendi asked the auditors to investigate whether the removal of former Telecom Italia (TIM) CEO Amos Genish late last year complied with company procedures with no conflict of interest, according to the letter dated January 23 which was also copied to market regulator Consob.

Since early last year TIM has been caught up in a battle between Vivendi and activist fund Elliott over how to revive Italy’s biggest phone company.

Elliott, with an 8.8 percent stake, wrestled control of TIM’s board from Vivendi last year and in November supported the appointment of new CEO Luigi Gubitosi.

In its letter, Vivendi asked TIM auditors to check whether a recent writedown of 2 billion euros had been done correctly, taking into account all information known to the company.

The French media giant also asked for a TIM shareholder meeting to be called before the end of February.

Vivendi has been pushing for a special shareholder meeting, which has been set for March 29, so it can propose a new slate of directors and restore its influence.

TIM declined to comment. Vivendi and Consob were not available for immediate comment.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Stephen Jewkes; editing by Jason Neely

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