EC watching for golden share violations

14 Sep 2006

The Italian government may face opposition from the European Commission if it attempts to use its ‘golden share’ to block Telecom Italia from selling off cellular subsidiary TIM to a foreign investor. Although it is not a shareholder in Telecom Italia, the government does have the right to veto certain asset sales. The Italian consumer group Adusbef has called on the government to use this so-called golden share to ‘protect national interests,’ Dow Jones reports. However, the EC’s internal markets spokesperson Oliver Drewes has warned against the use of such powers, commenting: ‘Golden shares as such have no place in the internal market. We will watch closely future developments for possible market violations.’ Telecom Italia says it is spinning off its mobile division in order to concentrate on delivering media content, although plans for a sale of TIM have yet to be announced.