Italian regulator examining Bulgari bid complaint

Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:41am EDT

* Fund queries LVMH tender offer price-paper

* Raising tender bid would cost LVMH 300 mln euros-paper

* LVMH declines to comment

MILAN, July 24 (Reuters) - Italian market regulator Consob is examining a complaint from a fund over the price French luxury group LVMH plans to pay for shares in Italian jeweller Bulgari , a Consob spokesman said on Sunday.

At the end of June, LVMH took control of Bulgari when the Bulgari family owners swapped their 55 percent stake into LVMH shares, part of LVMH's share-and-cash takeover announced in March that valued Bulgari at 3.7 billion euros ($5.3 billion).

On July 18, Bulgari issued a clarification on the number of shares swapped saying the total number transferred to LVMH included an extra 57,000 shares owned by Paolo and Nicola Bulgari not included in the March statement.

Two days later LVMH launched its planned 12.25 euros per share cash offer for remaining Bulgari shares, as announced in March, filing its offer document with Consob.

On Sunday, Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore said an unnamed fund had complained to Consob that the 57,000 share swap, disclosed last week, was made at 13.45 euros and that fund investors should also get this price from LVMH.

A second fund, Artannes Capital sent a similar letter to Consob, Il Sole said, adding it had a copy of that letter.

The paper said the higher price for Bulgari shares would cost LVMH an extra 300 million euros.

A spokesman for Consob said it had received a complaint and would examine it in the next few days.

LVMH declined to comment. A spokesman for Bulgari could not be reached for a comment. (Additional reporting by Christian Plumb in Paris; Writing by Nigel Tutt; Editing by Erica Billingham) ((nigel.tutt@thomsonreuters.com; +39 02 66129723; Reuters Messaging:nigel.tutt.reuters.com@reuters.net) ($1 = 0.696 Euros)