Giochi Preziosi Investor Said to Invite Bidders for 38% Stake

A group of investors led by Clessidra SGR SpA plan to invite offers for a 38 percent stake in Italian toymaker Giochi Preziosi SpA as soon as next month, according to three people familiar with the situation.

The sale will be handled by BNP Paribas, Banca IMI SpA, UniCredit SpA and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said the people, who declined to be identified as the matter is private.

Founder Enrico Preziosi will likely keep control of the company, which one person said is targeting a debt-inclusive valuation of as much as 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion). The Clessidra group acquired a stake in 2008 from 3i Group Plc and aims to sell its investment after the company dropped a plan to sell shares in an initial public offering last year.

Officials for Clessidra and Giochi Preziosi, based in Cogliate, near Milan, declined to comment.

Founded in 1978 as a toy wholesaler, Giochi Preziosi makes Gormiti figures, a collection of fantastical warriors who live on the island of Gorm. Gormiti first went on sale in 2005 and annual sales of the product now exceed 146 million euros.

In addition to toys, Preziosi sells branded sweets and snacks and employs more than 2,700 people. Revenue in 2009 rose 12 percent to 865.3 million euros, the company’s website shows.

To contact the reporters on this story: Elisa Martinuzzi at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net; Armorel Kenna in Milan at akenna@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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