MILAN — The acquisition of World Duty Free by Dufry might be investigated.
According to the Financial Times, a Spanish minority shareholder in World Duty Free has asked Consob, Italy’s equivalent of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to start an inquiry into the operation.
As the British newspaper reported, Edizione Srl, the parent holding company of the Benetton family that on March 30 sold its 50.1 percent stake in the airport mega-retailer to its Swiss competitor, might have received a better offer from another bidder, Boyu Capital.
That Chinese group would have offered to take over the company at a price of 12.30 euros, or $13.39 at average exchange rate, per share, while Dufry paid 10.25 euros, or $11.16, per share for a total of 1.3 billion euros, or $1.4 billion.
Sources close to Edizione told WWD on Monday that the company rejects the accusations since the conditions included in Boyu Capital’s offer were different and more disadvantageous than Dufry’s ones.
In particular, it seems that Boyu Capital’s offer included a clause giving the Chinese group the right to cancel the closing if Edizione wouldn’t get a waiver on the change of ownership by five important international airports, which account for 40 percent of World Duty Free’s revenues. According to sources, this clause was not included in Dufry’s offer.