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Vivendi Ends Push To Oust Telecom Italia Board Members

Vivendi has withdrawn its demand to replace the chairman and other board members at Telecom Italia at the company’s annual meeting.

The French company, which owns almost a quarter of Telecom Italia’s shares, had waged a long campaign to oust various members of the board and the chairman Fulvio Conti. It complained those directors operated as a “shadow board” for the benefit of Elliott Advisors, which owns more than 9 per cent of Telecom Italia shares, and had acted inappropriately to oust former chief executive Amos Genish last year.

The battle between Vivendi and Elliott has blown up into a bitter and personal battle in recent weeks.

Yet at Telecom Italia’s annual meeting in Milan on Friday morning Vivendi asked to have its proposals revoked according to two people at the meeting. The French company’s representative also said that the chief executive Luis Gubitosi, who replaced Mr Genish, has its full support.

Shareholders have to vote at the meeting in favour of the move to revoke Vivendi’s board shake-up demands.

Vivendi’s war on Elliott and Telecom Italia’s board in recent weeks did not appear to have convinced shareholders as the proxy advisory groups including Glass Lewis, ISS and Frontis which all said investors should vote against the board shake-up proposals.

Vivendi was not immediately available to comment on its U-turn, but the move, and public support for Mr Gubitosi, will raise hopes that a detente between the warring investors can be reached.―Financial Times

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