Vivendi tipped to raise Telecom Italia stake within next 2 days

Vivendi geared up to cement its position as Telecom Italia's leading shareholder with a plan to increase its holding to 14.9 per cent that could be executed in the next two days.

The French media company is in line to receive two seats on Telecom Italia's board as part of the move, which is expected to be formally announced on Jun. 23 or 24, Reuters reported.

Vivendi is already set to become the largest shareholder in the former Italian incumbent as part of a deal covering the sale of Brazilian broadband company Global Village Telecom (GVT) to Telefonica, the news agency added. When the dust settles on that deal, Vivendi will hold an 8.3 per cent stake in Telecom Italia.

Stock markets last week welcomed reports that a Vivendi stake increase was on the cards, with the share price of each company increasing on Wednesday, Business Insider reported. At the time, the publication cited Kepler Securities analysts as backing the deal. The analysts were bullish on Telecom Italia's strong potential as a provider of converged services that they noted could benefit Vivendi in terms of media distribution in Italy.

However, Telecom Italia chairman Giuseppe Recchi on Friday appeared to distance the company from a Vivendi move, telling reporters that he had yet to have any contact with the chairman of the French company, Reuters reported.

Reports that a deal is imminent come as Telecom Italia's wireless tower division prepares for its first day as a public company, following a successful IPO last week.

Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane (Inwit) was valued at €2.19 billion ($2.48 billion) during the flotation, which was completed on Thursday and should see the company's shares begin trading on the Milan Stock Exchange today (Monday), the New York Times reported.

Telecom Italia holds a 40 per cent stake in Inwit, meaning it will receive €780 million as part of the IPO, the NYT added.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- view this Business Insider report
- read this previous Reuters report
- see this New York Times article

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