Generali cut Telecom Italia stake as Vivendi moved to become largest shareholder

Telecom Italia shareholder Generali sold the bulk of its stake in the operator on the open market around the time that French media group Vivendi confirmed it would become the former incumbent's largest shareholder in place of Telefónica.

Generali, an Italian insurance company, took advantage of steady rises in Telecom Italia's share price to reduce its holding from 4.307 per cent to less than 1 per cent on Jun. 22, around the same time that Vivendi increased its holding from 8.3 per cent to 14.9 per cent, Reuters reported.

The insurance company was a member of Telco SpA, a holding company formed in 2007 to run Telecom Italia. Telco was a shareholder pact representing a 22.4 per cent stake in the Italian operator. In 2014, shareholders agreed to demerge the pact to enable them to sell their shares in Telecom Italia.

Telecom Italia's share price grew by 0.53 per cent last week, continuing a trend that has seen the value of the company's shares grow by 8.39 per cent in the past four weeks, The Daily Rover reported. Overall, the operator's share price has outperformed the Standard and Poor's 500, a U.S.-based stock market index, by 0.94 per cent in the past week, the news agency added.

Giuseppe Recchi, Telecom Italia's chairman, on Friday revealed that Vivendi's move to replace Telefónica as the largest shareholder in the Italian operator took place without a meeting between himself and the chairman of the French company, Vincent Bollore, Reuters reported in a related article.

However, the Telecom Italia chairman told reporters that he expected a meeting with Bollore to take place "pretty soon", during which the pair will discuss whether Vivendi board members will be given seats on Telecom Italia's board, Reuters added.

Installing Vivendi staff on Telecom Italia's board would give the French company a say in future decisions, including whether the Italian operator should sell its Brazilian business TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil). Such a decision could set the new majority owner in conflict with Telecom Italia's current board, given that the operator repeatedly emphasised that it views TIM Brasil as a strategic asset.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- view this TelecomPaper report
- read The Daily Rover's article
- see this related Reuters report

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