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Elliott defeats Vivendi in battle for Telecom Italia's board

Activist investor Elliott has wrestled control of Telecom Italia's board away from Vivendi, securing the backing of shareholders and throwing the future of the Italian carrier's boss Amos Genish into doubt. 
Elliott's proposed slate of board nominations was supported by 49.8pc of votes at the extraordinary general meeting on Friday. The slate put forward by Vivendi, Telecom Italia's largest shareholder with a 24pc stake, was backed by 47.2pc of shareholders.
This means ten of the board seats will go to Elliott's nominees, with the remaining five seats to be filled by Vivendi-backed directors. Elliott had been pushing for control of the board, with its new slate of non-executives, saying that Telecom Italia had been run in the interests of Vivendi not independent shareholders and that it should sell down its assets. 
Elliott, which built up a 9pc stake in Telecom Italia ahead of the showdown, said: "Today’s landmark vote represents a victory for all shareholders and opens a new chapter for Telecom Italia, in which the company can build upon a foundation of improved governance to secure sustained value creation for all stakeholders."
Further change could be on the horizon, however, with Mr Genish telling The Sunday Telegraph last week that, should Elliott succeed in securing two thirds of the Telecom Italia board, his position would be "untenable".
Mr Genish was brought in by Vivendi to head up Telecom Italia last September, though his association with the French media group goes back years, with him having sold telecoms start-up GVT to Vivendi in 2009 and joining Vivendi as a chief convergence officer at the start of 2017.
Elliott defeats Vivendi in battle for Telecom Italia's board

Telecom Italia boss Amos Genish 

Credit:
Remo Casilli/Reuters
“If the Vivendi slate does not get the majority of votes, because this is clearly the only slate to support our long-term industrial plan I firmly believe my position as chief executive would be untenable," he said.
Technically Mr Genish is not currently Telecom Italia's chief executive, given the vote, and the new board is meeting on Monday to formally appoint a CEO. Vivendi said it would be for the new board to appoint someone to the role "also based on the view regarding the strategic vision and business plan". 
Elliott stressed that it was seeking to "enhance" Mr Genish's strategy and not to overhaul it. He had received the support of 98pc of voters at a shareholder meeting last month. 
The loss of board control piled further misery on Vivendi just over a week after its largest shareholder and former chairman French tycoon Vincent Bollore was charged with corruption.
Bollore Group, in response, had said: "Bollore , who continues to be presumed innocent, will now have access to this dossier (of evidence) whose content he had no knowledge of and will have the opportunity to answer these unfounded accusations."
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