The Italian government’s Council of Ministers has approved a decision to implement special powers over incumbent telco Telecom Italia (TIM). The move to exercise the so-called ‘golden power’ came after it was ruled that French firm Vivendi has de facto control over TIM. Vivendi has a 24.9% stake in the operator and controls two-thirds of its board and the top two executive positions. The government is concerned that the French company may have too great an influence over assets which are considered to be of strategic importance, including Telecom Italia’s international wholesale unit Sparkle, and the Telsy division, which provides encrypted communications to the military and government. There has also been speculation that TIM may be forced to separate its retail operations from its network business.