October 15, 2019 / 5:24 AM / a month ago

De Benedetti plans relaunch of Italian publisher GEDI: newspaper

MILAN (Reuters) - Carlo De Benedetti, at odds with his three sons over the fate of Italy’s GEDI (GEDI.MI), publisher of the La Repubblica and La Stampa newspapers, plans a two-stage relaunch of the firm including investment in digital, he said in an interview published on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a newsstand which displays copies of Italian daily newspapers with front pages about the rise of the far-right League party in Sunday's European parliamentary election in Milan, Italy May 27, 2019. The title reads "Black shadows". REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

GEDI shares surged almost 16% on Monday after he offered 0.25 euro per share to buy a 29.9% stake in the group he chaired for 10 years.

CIR, the holding company controlled by his sons that owns a stake in the publisher, rebuffed his proposal.

“First we need to straighten out the company’s management,” he said. A subsequent step would see him “handing my shares to a foundation, convincing other shareholders to do the same,” he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

De Benedetti, 84, said he envisaged a two- or three-year period in which he would head the foundation, which would include journalists, managers and individuals from the cultural sector.

“The objective is to assure an independent future for a piece of Italian history,” he said.

Seven years ago he transferred his stake in CIR to his three sons Rodolfo, Marco and Edoardo.

Explaining his bid to buy a stake in GEDI at the weekend, he said his sons had “neither the skills nor the passion required to be publishers” and had concentrated solely on looking for a buyer.

Asked if he planned to increase the offer price, he said the company managed by his sons was worth 25 cents. “Why should I pay more for it?,” he said.

GEDI closed on Monday at 0.29 cents.

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; editing by James Mackenzie and Jason Neely

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