MILAN — Italian media company Gedi Gruppo Editoriale SpA, which publishes newspapers La Repubblica, La Stampa and weekly magazine L’Espresso, among other titles, has found a new owner in holding company Exor N.V. controlled by the Agnelli family. Since 2017 Exor has been one of Gedi’s minority shareholders, with a 5.99 percent interest in the company.
Late Monday night, Cir Compagnie Industriali Riunite SpA, the holding company controlled by the De Benedetti family, agreed to sell a 43.78 percent controlling stake in Gedi to Exor N.V. for 102.4 million euros, or 0.46 euros a share.
The transaction, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, is subject to approval by the European Commission and AgCom, the regulator and competition authority for the communication industries in Italy.
Upon closing the deal Exor plans to tender an offer via a special purpose vehicle for part or all of the outstanding stock. Cir said it pledges to reinvest in the newly formed vehicle and secure a 5 percent interest “to accompany the evolution of the media company in the upcoming years.”
“Through this deal we are committed to a rigorous entrepreneurial project, to accompany Gedi to face future challenges,” said John Elkann, chairman and chief executive officer of Exor N.V. “In addition to bringing the expertise developed in the sector, also on an international level, Exor will ensure the needed stability to accelerate the technological and organizational transformations.” As reported, in 2015 Exor agreed to buy 27.8 percent of The Economist Group’s ordinary shares raising its stake in the group to 43.4 percent.
“After 30 years being the controlling shareholders of the company, I want to express my deep gratitude to all the women and men that shared this long journey, along which the group has distinguished itself for the quality of its journalism, for the ability to innovate and for its operational foresight end efficiency,” added Rodolfo De Benedetti, chairman of Cir. “We hand the baton to a leading shareholder, which has been involved in the life of the company for two years and knows the media industry and its challenges.”
In early-morning trading on the Milan Bourse, where Gedi is listed, the media company’s shares jumped 60.92 percent to 0.457 euro per share, aligning with the value of the M&A deal. In mid-morning trading on the Milan Bourse Exor inched up 0.71 percent to 68.54 euros, while Cir shares decreased 8 percent to 1.08 euros.