ROZZANO, Italy (Reuters) - Shareholders of Italy's largest phone group Telecom Italia <TLIT. MI> rejected on Friday a proposal by dissident investor Marco Fossati to oust the entire board, with a majority of 50.3 percent.
A 42.3 percent minority was in favour of Fossati's proposal, Telecom Italia's third-biggest shareholder with his 5 percent stake, while 7.4 percent abstained.
Friday's vote pitted Fossati against Telco, the investment vehicle owned by Telefonica <TEF. MC> and a group of three Italian financial institutions, with a 22.4 percent stake, which managed to appoint the majority of the current board.
Investors with a combined 54.3 percent stake were present at the meeting, meaning that Telco needed the backing of other investors to defeat the motion.
The decision comes as Telecom Italia struggles to turn a corner after years of sluggish growth and Chief Executive Marco Patuano has to move ahead with asset sales to help cut debt of more than 28 billion euros ($38 billion).
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni; editing by Isla Binnie)