Benetton Says Founding Family Is Studying Offer to Delist Clothing Company

The Benetton family is studying an offer to buy the shares it doesn’t already own in Benetton Group SpA (BEN), Italy’s biggest clothing company, and remove the stock from trading in Milan.

The Benettons’ investment firm Edizione Srl will meet tomorrow to review the plan, the Treviso, Italy-based company said in a statement today. Edizione owns about 67 percent of Benetton, according to the website of market regulator Consob.

A delisting would end Benetton’s 26-year history as a publicly traded company. Benetton sold shares to the public for the first time in 1986, when it listed stock in Milan, according to the company’s website. The shares began trading in Frankfurt two years later and on the New York Stock Exchange in 1989.

Edizione, with net assets of 5.5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) at the end of 2010, owns stakes in Atlantia SpA, Italy’s biggest toll-road operator, and RCS Mediagroup SpA, publisher of the country’s largest daily newspaper, Corriere Della Sera.

Benetton Group’s net income in 2011 fell to “slightly” more than 70 million euros from 102.8 million euros in 2010, the company said in a separate statement today. The company expects profit to be under pressure this year as the economic slowdown hurts retail spending.

The stock rose as much as 12 percent to 4.14 euros and traded 9.3 percent higher before being suspended pending the statement. Benetton jumped 13 percent yesterday. Consob routinely monitors the trading of securities before deal announcements, said a spokesman for the Rome-based regulator.

Benetton shares have lost 20 percent in the past year, cutting its market value to 739.9 million euros. Trading of Benetton shares will resume after a new statement expected tomorrow, the stock exchange said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chiara Remondini in Milan at cremondini@bloomberg.net; Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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