PARIS/MILAN (Reuters) – Top shareholder Vivendi (PA:VIV) reaffirmed its support for Telecom Italia’s (TIM) (MI:TLIT) Chief Executive Amos Genish, while accusing activist fund Elliott of running a “rumor campaign” to discredit him.
The French media group, which owns 24 percent of TIM, has been at loggerheads with Elliott since the U.S. hedge fund took a stake in Italy’s biggest phone group earlier this year and ended up wrestling board control away from Vivendi in May.
The battle of words has intensified in recent months as TIM fell under pressure due to tougher competition at home, which in turn prompted speculation that Genish’s position at the company could be at risk.
Shares in TIM are down around 30 percent so far in 2018, worse than a 15 percent fall in the European telecoms index (SXKP).
“Vivendi supports TIM’s CEO Amos Genish unreservedly and values his contribution,” Vivendi said on Saturday, confirming comments also reported by Italian media on Saturday.