The big Telecom Italia shareholder showdown concluded decisively in favour of French conglomerate Vivendi, which owns a fifth of its shares.
Vivendi wanted to enlarge the board of directors from 13 to 17 members, with the four new spots being taken by its own nominees. It only needed to get the support of the majority of attending shareholders for that motion to pass, and it managed a reported 53%. So now Vivendi’s Arnaud Roy de Puyfontaine, Stephane Roussel, Hervé Philippe and consultant Felicité Herzog will sit on the TI board, although a minor motion exempting them from a non-compete agreement wasn’t approved.
The other key motion being voted on was TI’s bid to convert savings shares into ordinary ones, which would result in dilution of ordinary shareholders’ share in the company by around 30%, thus presumably weakening Vivendi’s claims on board representation. This one required a two thirds majority to be passed but only managed 62.5%, and hence was rejected. This was pretty much entirely down to Vivendi since only 56% of ordinary shareholders voted, meaning its 20% share accounted for more than a third of voters on the day.
The support Vivendi must have received from other shareholders for its board representation implies they managed to convince some investors that it could have a positive influence on the way the company is run. It remains to be seen, however, exactly how Vivendi intends to use its increased influence.