Italy launches process for possible fine of Vivendi over TIM control: source

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ROME (Reuters) – Italy began a process on Thursday that could end with French media group Vivendi (VIV.MI) being fined for failing to notify Rome that it had de facto control over Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI), an Italian government source said.

Vivendi denies that its 24 percent holding in the Italian phone group has given it effective control of the company.

An Italian government panel met on Thursday to conclude its investigation, which began last month, and “launched the process for the possible application of the fine,” the source said, without indicating how much it might amount to.

A Telecom Italia source said the company reiterated its position that there was no need for any notification because Vivendi still did not have de facto control over the company.

A Vivendi spokesman declined to comment.

Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio and John Irish, writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Adrian Croft