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(Adds Vivendi denying its CEO could become TI chairman)
MILAN, April 27 (Reuters) - Italian phone group Telecom Italia has appointed Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine as its vice chairman, three sources close to the matter said, in a sign of the French media firm further tightening its grip on the company.
In less than a year, Vivendi has become Telecom Italia's top shareholder with a 24.9 percent stake, increasingly taking an active role at the heavily-indebted Italian group.
Former Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano resigned last month after disagreements over strategy with the new top investor.
One of the sources said De Puyfontaine's appointment may lead to the French executive eventually replacing Giuseppe Recchi as Telecom Italia's chairman. A spokesman for Vivendi later denied this. (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Stefano Rebaudo; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)