German mobile operator MobilCom called an emergency board meeting on Wednesday night to investigate claims that a subsidiary had transferred money to a company owned by Sybille Schmid-Sindran. Ms Schmid-Sindran is married to MobilCom’s CEO, Gerhard Schmid.
The company’s two biggest shareholders – Mr Schmid and France Telecom – have been fighting over its business plan for several months, but the fighting finally reached a head this week. France Telecom’s sole representative on the MobilCom board resigned on Monday.
According to a shareholder agreement between MobilCom and France Telecom, Mr Schmid has the right to sell all but 9% of his 42% stake in the company to France Telecom’s Orange unit. As Orange already owns 28.5% of the group, this would trigger a full bid, which France Telecom wants to avoid.
France Telecom claims a serious breach of corporate governance would render this agreement null and void. Whether such a breach has taken place – and whether it would indeed have this effect – remain to be seen.