The activist US investment fund Elliott Advisors has increased its stake in Telecom Italia (TIM) and could buy more shares amid a continuing boardroom battle with the Italian telco’s largest shareholder, Vivendi of France. Bloomberg reports that Elliott has upped its stake in TIM from 8.8% to 9.4% and cites unnamed sources as saying that the fund is interested in increasing its holding still further, seeing TIM as ‘undervalued and an attractive investment’.
Vivendi, meanwhile, says the US fund is simply looking for a short-term gain at TIM and is against Elliott’s plan to spin off the telco’s fixed network assets; Vivendi wants TIM to separate the network business into a wholly-owned unit where it can retain control of the assets.
In May last year Elliott took control of TIM’s board, winning a vote which allowed it to nominate ten of the 15 board members. Then, in November, Vivendi-nominated CEO Amos Genish was replaced by Luigi Gubitosi, who has the backing of Elliot. Vivendi has called a new shareholder meeting for March, however, as it attempts to win back control of Italy’s largest fixed and mobile operator by subscribers.