Merlyn, Bluebell present rival lists for Telecom Italia board, TIM says

ROME (Reuters) – Activist investor fund Bluebell, as well as minority shareholder Merlyn, have presented rival slates of candidates for the renewal of the board of Telecom Italia (TIM) , the Italian phone group said on Saturday.

Shareholders are due to vote on the lists on April 23.

Current CEO Pietro Labriola is looking for a second term as part of another slate of candidates put forward by TIM’s outgoing directors, and there is also a fourth list of candidates from small investors’ group ASATI.

Bluebell has put forward six candidates, including former TIM director Paola Giannotti De Ponti, proposing her for the chair position, but did not offer any candidates for CEO, TIM said in a statement.

Merlyn’s list has 10 names, including former TIM deputy general manager Stefano Siragusa for the role of CEO and former Microsoft executive Umberto Paolucci for the chairmanship, the phone group added.

ASATI’s list has no candidates for CEO or chair.

The board is being renewed while Labriola is under pressure over his flagship plan to sell TIM’s fixed network assets to U.S. fund KKR to reduce the phone group’s historically high debt levels.

TIM’s share price suffered a record plunge this month after Labriola unveiled the financial outlook for the business emerging from the asset sale, which is supported by the Italian government but opposed by TIM’s top investor Vivendi.

With its 24% stake, the French media giant could stand in the way of Labriola’s reappointment if it decides to back a slate proposing a new CEO. Merlyn, however, has said it is in favour of completing the deal with KKR.

TIM’s shares are down by more than 23% in the year to date, last trading at the close of markets on Thursday at 0.2251 euros.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, Editing by William Maclean)


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