Italy’s financial markets regulator Consob (Commissione Nazionale per le Societa e la Borsa) has ruled that French firm Vivendi does have de facto control of fixed and mobile operator Telecom Italia, which trades as TIM. Vivendi has a 24% stake in the telco and accounts for two-thirds of its board, but has previously denied that it has de facto control.
The Consob ruling means that Vivendi could face a fine for failing to notify the authorities of a change of ownership at TIM, which is considered a strategic national asset. The Italian government could also choose to use ‘golden powers’ which allow it to veto decisions which may be deemed to go against the national interest. According to a report from Reuters, Vivendi plans to appeal the regulator’s decision. The French firm has also been under fire for its acquisition of a stake in Italian broadcaster Mediaset, with critics claiming that it now has too much influence in the country’s pay-TV and communications sector.