- BlackRock (BLK) has almost doubled its stake in Telecom Italia (TI) to 10.1% from 5.1% in a move that could give the U.S. private-equity firm a crucial say in a vote on Friday over whether to oust the carrier's board.
- However, BlackRock's holdings are split over several funds, so it's unclear how many shares it will be able to use in the ballot.
- Businessman Marco Fossati, who holds 5% in Telecom Italia, has helped force the vote because of what he says are conflicts of interest on TI's board and the possible sale of its Brazilian mobile unit, TIM Participacoes. Fossati is opposed to the divestment, although BlackRock is in favor.
- TIM competes with Telefonica (TEF), which is the majority owner of Telco, an investment group that controls TI's board with a 22.4% stake in the carrier. Hence the accusation of conflict of interests.
- To reduce those perceived conflicts, Telefonica's two representatives on TI's board, including CEO Cesar Alierta, have resigned as TI directors. Telefonica will not take up its right to propose replacements.
BlackRock increases stake in TI ahead of shareholder vote
Dec 15 2013, 02:41 ET