MILAN — Central Retail Corp. is the new owner of Italy’s La Rinascente.

This story first appeared in the May 31, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Shareholders of the high-end department store chain approved the sale to the Thai giant retail conglomerate for 260 million euros, or $367.6 million at current exchange, 11 times the store’s 2010 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Shareholders of Rinascente Srl include real estate developer Prelios with a 20 percent stake; investment fund Investitori Associati (46 percent); RREEF-Deutsche Bank Group (30 percent) and Tasso, controlled by chairman Maurizio Borletti (4 percent).

“The price has been judged to be fair,” Prelios said Friday. “The transaction will allow Prelios to optimize its investment in a business that is no longer held to be strategic for the company, realizing a total capital gain of more than 30 million euros [$42.4 million].”

Headquartered in Bangkok, CRC is specialized “in the professional management of large warehouses, supermarkets, retail parks and stores. In addition to retail, the Group’s business also includes property, hotels and restaurants,” said Prelios.

The sale comes following the decision of a Milan judge late last week to dismiss Borletti’s request to halt the sale. The entrepreneur had requested the confiscation of the 96 percent stake of La Rinascente he does not own, waiving his preemption rights.

La Rinascente was founded in Milan in 1917 with the first store opposite the city’s imposing cathedral and at the heart of Milan’s shopping streets and tourist attractions. Borletti and the other shareholders took control of the store chain five years ago and moved La Rinascente upmarket, planning the renovation of several stores and adding luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo. Vittorio Radice was tapped as chief executive officer of the group to revamp the stores.

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