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Telecom Italia weighing Vivendi request for board vote

Telecom Italia SpA is weighing proposals by French media giant Vivendi SA to appoint new financial auditors and revoke the appointment of five board members nominated by activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd.

The Italian mobile operator's board of directors is due to meet Jan. 14 to assess Vivendi's request to call a shareholder meeting as the group pushes for changes in governance.

Telecom Italia has been the subject of an escalating shareholder battle for control between Elliott and Vivendi, its two largest shareholders. The rivalry intensified after Elliott secured two-thirds of the group's board seats in May 2018.

Vivendi requested in December 2018 a replacement of board members Fulvio Conti, Alfredo Altavilla, Massimo Ferrari, Dante Roscini and Paola Giannotti de Ponti, claiming that they had demonstrated a "substantial lack of independence and disrespect for the most basic and fundamental corporate governance rules."

Vivendi also recommended four new candidates — Flavia Mazzarella, Franco Bernabè, Gabriele Galateri di Genola, Rob van der Valk and Francesco Vatalaro — for the board seats.