Family row over Italian publisher GEDI drives shares up 10%

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

MILAN (Reuters) - Shares in Italy's GEDI GEDI.MI shot up more than 10% on Monday after veteran businessman Carlo De Benedetti offered to buy a 30% stake in the publishing group he chaired for 10 years from his three sons but was rebuffed.

Seven years ago De Benedetti, 84, transferred to his three sons Rodolfo, Marco and Edoardo his stake in CIR, the holding company than owns 43.8% of GEDI, the publisher of leading Italian dailies la Repubblica and la Stampa.

At the weekend, Carlo De Benedetti said he had offered to buy a 29.9% stake in GEDI saying his children had “neither the skills nor the passion required to be publishers” and had concentrated solely on looking for a buyer.

CIR has repeatedly quashed rumors of a possible sale, including denying in July it was in talks with French media group Vivendi VIV.PA.

CIR on Sunday said the offer for GEDI was unacceptable because it did not reflect the real value of the investment and failed to ensure the group’s long-term prospects.

De Benedetti told Italian news agency ANSA at the weekend he had offered 0.25 euros a share, a price equivalent to Thursday’s closing level. By 0810 on Monday, shares in GEDI were suspended from trading after rising 10.3% to 0.279%.

“I’m deeply saddened and disconcerted by my father’s unsolicited move whose only result is to create a futile and needless distraction for people working every day to ensure GEDI’s successful future,” Rodolfo De Benedetti said in a statement.

Reporting by Giancarlo Navach; editing by David Evans