Vivendi to fight grid sale in court without shareholder vote-sources

MILAN (Reuters) – Telecom Italia’s (TIM) top investor Vivendi is ready to challenge in court any decision by the Italian group’s board to sell its landline grid unless shareholders back it with a qualified majority, two sources close to the matter said.

Vivendi has informed TIM’s board of its stance on the network’s sale in a letter addressed to TIM directors, the sources told Reuters.

The French media group has gathered five legal opinions saying the sale of the grid, which is the phone group’s most valuable asset, would change TIM’s corporate purpose, requiring an extraordinary shareholder vote, the sources said.

TIM said on Sunday its directors would meet on Nov.3 and Nov.5 to review and deliberate over a multi-billion binding bid for the network filed by U.S fund KKR.

The board will also decide what the process must be for the company to approve the possible sale, TIM said.

The sale of TIM’s ageing network is a key plank of CEO Pietro Labriola’s strategy to revamp the debt-laden group.

Vivendi has been opposing the plan, which has been effectively endorsed by Italy’s conservative government, complaining that the asset has been unfairly valued.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; editing by Valentina Za)