Fiat’s Toro Confirms Bid for Fondaria

January 11, 2002

After months of rumors, speculation and maneuvering, Toro, the Italian insurance subsidiary of the Fiat industrial group, confirmed that it had made a formal bid for La Fondaria, another Italian insurer, which has been the target of acquisition efforts since last year, notably from Italy’s SAI Group.

Italy’s interlocking system of cross holdings and directorships make any acquisition difficult, but this one has been especially complicated as it essentially pits the country’s powerful Mediobanca Group, it’s biggest utility, Montedison (which is in fact controlled by the French State Utility Monopoly Electricité de France) and Fiat.

Italian regulators initially rejected SAI’s bid of around $8.50 a share on the grounds that it was secretly working with Mediobanca, which owns a a 14 percent stake in La Fondaria, and was trying to acquire control without taking over the entire group.

Toro’s offer is more straight forward, as it envisions a merger between the two companies, but no one is predicting what future developments may be. La Fondaria has said that its board will continue to consider SAI’s offer along with Toro’s.

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