October 31, 2018 / 6:47 PM / 18 days ago

Owners of Italy's Esselunga seek investors to bankroll buyout plan - sources

LONDON/MILAN, Oct 31 (Reuters) - The majority owners of Italian supermarket chain Esselunga are seeking to team up with long-term investors to take full control of the business and squeeze out two of the family heirs, three sources familiar with the matter said.

The retailer, which ranks as Italy’s fourth biggest supermarket chain, has long been locked in a long family dispute following the death of founder Bernardo Caprotti in 2016.

An initial public offering (IPO) had initially been considered as a way to lure investors and reach a mutual agreement on the company’s valuation but the plan has been shelved for the time being, the sources added.

A spokesman for Esselunga told Reuters that the company had begun a process that would give it “the ability to be listed at the appropriate time”. He declined further comment. (Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London and Elisa Anzolin in Milan; editing by Agnieszka Flak )

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