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MILAN, June 16 (Reuters) - Italy's fourth biggest supermarket chain Esselunga is not up for sale, its majority shareholders said in a letter to managers after China's Yida International Investment Group offered to buy the company.
Esselunga, founded by late entrepreneur Bernardo Caprotti, is 70 percent owned by Caprotti's second wife Giuliana and their daughter Marina.
"We wish to clarify that the company is not for sale," Giuliana and Marina said in the letter published on an Italian website, whose content was confirmed to Reuters by two sources close to the company.
The rest of Esselunga is owned by Caprotti's two children from his first marriage, Giuseppe and Violetta, who are locked in a legal dispute with the rest of the family over their father's estate.
An Italian law firm which said it was acting as legal adviser to Yida International Investment Group had earlier said the Chinese firm had submitted an expression of interest for the whole supermarket chain and the unit that owns its real estate assets, subject to due diligence. (Reporting by Elisa Anzolin, writing by Silvia Aloisi, editing by Francesca Landini)