MILAN, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Italy’s Exor, the holding company of the Agnelli family, has agreed to buy a stake in GEDI before launching a takeover bid on the company, which publishes prominent daily newspaper La Repubblica.
In a joint statement late on Monday, Exor and CIR, a holding of the De Benedetti family, said Exor would buy CIR’s 43.78% stake at 0.46 euros per share for an overall amount of 102.4 million euros ($113 million).
The companies said they expected the sale to be completed within the first four months of 2020 after which Exor would then launch a bid on the remaining GEDI shares at the same price via a new company that it would set up.
CIR will then reinvest in the new company to take a 5% stake of GEDI, the companies said, adding CIR would have a right to be represented on the board.
GEDI, which also publishes the La Stampa daily, has been at the centre of a battle for control between members of the De Benedetti family.
In October veteran businessman Carlo De Benedetti, who had in the past been a chairman of GEDI, offered to buy a 29.9% stake in the publisher for a reported 0.25 euros a share, an offer described as totally inadequate by CIR.
“With this operation we have committed to a rigorous business project to help GEDI tackle future challenges,” Exor Chairman and CEO John Elkann said.
Exor, which already holds 5.99% of GEDI, owns 43.4% of the Economist Group. ($1 = 0.9073 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)