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Iliad founder Niel meets with Italian watchdog over Telecom Italia
November 3, 2015 / 3:28 PM / 2 years ago

Iliad founder Niel meets with Italian watchdog over Telecom Italia

ROME, Nov 3 (Reuters) - French telecoms tycoon Xavier Niel met Italian market watchdog Consob on Tuesday after the regulator said Niel had built positions equivalent to a 15.1 percent voting stake in Telecom Italia, but neither side made any comment on the talks.

Consob is carrying out routine checks on Niel’s investment, a source at the regulator told Reuters last week, including verifying possible links with Vivendi, the French media group which is the largest investor in Telecom Italia with a 20 percent stake.

Under Italian rules, any proof that the two investors acted in concert would trigger an offer for the rest of Telecom Italia’s shares.

Niel left Consob’s offices in Rome without commenting to reporters. A Consob spokesman declined comment.

Niel, 48-year-old founder of low-cost French mobile operator Iliad, has accumulated derivative contracts that could make him the second-biggest investor in the Italian phone group behind Vivendi.

The Italian government has said it is closely following events at Telecom Italia, a company deemed strategic for the country. But a spokesman for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Niel would not meet any government representatives.

Renzi is keen to promote investment in ultra-fast Internet to help spur the country’s sluggish economy. Telecom Italia, Italy’s largest telecoms group, plays a key role in his plan. (Writing by Valentina Za; Editing by David Holmes)

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