Telecom Italia shares rise as activist investor claims victory

Telecom Italia shares are higher Friday after activist investor Elliott Management's nominated board members won the vote at a shareholder meeting.

Telecom Italia shares rise as activist investor claims victory

Telecom Italia shares are trading higher late Friday, after a boardroom showdown saw activist investor Elliott Management succeed against French media business Vivendi.

The two investors in Telecom Italia have been in disagreement over the way the Italian business is performing and being run, for some time.

By 1610 BST, Telecom Italia shares were 2.15% higher at €0.86. Vivendi shares were also in the green, gaining 1.05% to hit €23.13.

Elliott Management’s nominees gain support

Vivendi is the major shareholder in Telecom Italia. However, after gaining a 9% holding in the Italian telecoms business, Elliott Management has been making clear is feelings over the way the business has been performing under Vivendi’s guidance.

That disgruntlement has moved on from writing letters to other shareholders outlining its suggestions for what the investor considers a better plan for the Italian business. Friday’s shareholder meeting was held to appoint a new Telecom Italia board.

Elliott Management put together its slate of 10 candidates and Vivendi did also. The Elliott Management slate won with two-thirds of the vote and all ten were elected to the board.

Five of Vivendi’s slate were elected and will work alongside Elliott Management’s candidates.

“Vivendi will be extremely vigilant in ensuring that Amos Genish receives assurance from the Board members presented by Elliott that the 2018-2020 industrial plan can be achieved in its entirety and in all its coherence,” the French company said in a press release post vote.

“Vivendi, which is the largest shareholder holding 23.94% of the ordinary shares, reaffirms its long-term commitment to the company and will take all measures necessary to preserve its value and avoid its dismantling,” it added.

All eyes on Genish

Now the board has been decided, the next thing on Telecom Italia shareholders minds is whether or not CEO Genish will remain at the helm.

Last weekend Genish was quoted as saying that he felt his position as CEO could become untenable if the Elliott Management slate won today’s vote. Elliott Management responded by saying they were fully supportive of his role as CEO.

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