Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine has once again raised his arms in defence of his role at Telecom Italia, stating he’s just being a nice guy.
During the company’s earnings call, which was pretty healthy by the way, de Puyfontaine reiterated the fact he and his Vivendi cronies do not exercise any untoward levels of control over the Italian telcos business model. They are just there to lend a guiding hand to their new buddies and help the company make more money. There’s nothing dodgy about the set-up, and de Puyfontaine claims to exercise no more control than the 24.9% stake should allow him.
“I want to reiterate a few points; Vivendi as the largest shareholder of TIM is strongly committed to fostering the development of an Italian champion, which was stalled over the past decade; Vivendi does exercise the return in [coordinamento] of Telecom Italia, but doesn’t control it according to Italian law; this allows Vivendi to provide greater contribution to the success of TIM,” de Puyfontaine pleaded.
See, he’s just being a nice guy. He’s not using TIM and its substantial Italian footprint to fuel the ambitions of his French media empire, of course not. He would have to acquire TIM for anything along those lines to be true, and that certainly doesn’t seem to be a possibility in the foreseeable future. He’s just helping TIM because that is the sort of bloke he is.
We’ve also heard through unnamed sources de Puyfontaine also likes to volunteer at the local homeless shelter almost every morning before going to work, and once 5pm rolls around, he spends the rest of the evening scouring Paris, looking for kittens to save from trees.
On a more official note, the Vivendi team felt the need to state the following:
“Vivendi confirmed that it considers that it does not exercise any de facto control of Telecom Italia under Article 93 of the Consolidated Law on Finance and Article 2359 of the Italian Civil Code given that Vivendi’s interest in Telecom Italia is not sufficient to allow it to exercise, on a stable basis, a dominant influence at Telecom Italia shareholders’ meetings.”
But of course, it isn’t being defensive.
While motives might be a bit iffy for the moment, you can’t argue with the positive influence (or perhaps lack thereof) a stronger Vivendi representation has had on TIM fortunes. Revenues increased 3.2% over the course of the first half of the year to €9.8 billion, while EBITDA grew to €4.1 billion, a 72% organic growth compared to H1 in 2016.
Telecoms.com was going to try and get a comment from de Puyfontaine, but we couldn’t catch him as he was sprinting across the road to help a wobbly Grandma cross at the traffic lights.