MILAN — The battle for La Rinascente continues – to become more and more complicated.
Maurizio Borletti, who owns 4 percent of the retailer and is a descendant of its founder, is continuing his uphill struggle against the sale of the Italian department store chain. The rest of the company is owned by a group of investors including Investitori Associati, Deutsch Bank’s RREEF and Prelios, which have already said they are pleased with Central Retailing Corp.’s offer of 250 million euros, or $358.7 million at current exchange.
Late last week, however, Borletti requested the sequestration of the 96 percent of La Rinascente he does not own, citing pre-emption rights, and the presiding judge has set the date of the hearing for June 9.
On Wednesday, a board meeting was called to discuss the situation and possibly even to accept Central Retailing’s offer, though, according to sources, no formal decision was made. However, the board did decide that the shareholders’ meeting to deliberate the sale would still take place by the end of the month, thus bypassing any decision that would have been made during the June 9 proceedings.
Borletti, in the meantime, has been trying to gather a group of investors to buy the chain, including Italian firm Tamburi Investment Partners, which called La Rinascente “an amazing asset” but commented that Central Retail’s offer was “a bit high.”
Also in the mix are arbitration proceedings set into action earlier this month by Borletti, who claimed that there were violations of certain shareholder agreements. If proven true, this could allow him to buy the company at a 25 percent discount as well as receive 40 million euros, or $57.4 million at current exchange, in damages.