(Updates with CIR statement)
MILAN, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Italian holding company CIR has rejected an offer from veteran businessman Carlo De Benedetti to buy 29.9% of its stake in publishing group Gedi, calling it totally inadequate.
In a statement on Sunday CIR said the offer for the publisher of Italy’s two leading dailies - La Republica and La Stampa - was “clearly unacceptable since... it did not recognise the real value of the stake to CIR and its shareholders”.
De Benedetti made an all-cash offer for the stake on Friday through his holding company, Romed, at 0.25 euros per Gedi share, the equivalent of Thursday’s closing price, newswire Ansa reported on Sunday, citing the businessman.
“This move ... is aimed at relaunching the group I have been associated with for a long part of my life and that I presided over for 10 years, promoting its extraordinary potential,” Ansa quoted De Benedetti as saying.
In its statement, CIR said the offer could not guarantee the sustainable long-term future of Gedi which it said it had always been committed to.
Gedi is 43.4% owned by CIR. The Agnelli family is also a shareholder.
De Benedetti, one of Italy’s best known businessmen, owned a stake in CIR but transferred his shares to his three sons about seven years ago. They own 52% of CIR.
It was not possible to reach De Benedetti for immediate comment.
La Repubblica said on its web page on Sunday its journalists would meet on Monday to discuss the offer for Gedi.
According to Ansa, the offer is conditional on the board members nominated by CIR resigning with the exception of Exor head John Elkann and Carlo Perrone.
In the past there has been speculation over a possible sale of Gedi, including rumours it could be sold to France’s Le Monde group.
Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise