Mediobanca Sells Part of its Stake in La Fondiaria-SAI

February 10, 2003

Mediobanca SpA, the influential Italian investment bank confirmed that it has sold 11.5 million shares, or 6.7%, of the recently merged insurance group La Fondiaria-SAI in equal blocks to five banks for 10.25 Euros ($11.07) per share. (See IJ Website Feb. 4)

According to a report from Dow Jones Newswire, the company identified the five buyers as Goldman Sachs International, ABN Amro Holding NV, Deutsche Bank AG, BNP Paribas and Banque AIG. Each bank paid around 23.6 million Euros ($25.5 million) for its stake.

In January Consob, the Italian stock market regulator ordered Mediobanca and La Fondiaria-SAI’s largest shareholder, Premafin SpA, to reduce their stakes by 9.9 percent, after finding that they had colluded to force through last year’s merger between the two insurance companies.

The decision to sell the shares in what was described as an “equity total return swap” will reduce the influence the two companies can exert over the company that has become Italy’s second largest insurance group after Generali (in which Mediobanca also has a substantial 13.6 percent interest).

The 11.5 million shares sold represent 8.9% of the 128.7 million voting shares in La Fondiaria-SAI, and according to the DJ report represents a 35 million Euro ($37.8 million) loss, but as it retains a 2 percent stake in the company, and remains exposed to price movements in its shares over the next five years, it could recover the loss if the stock gains in value.

Premafin confirmed that it had sold a 1.9% stake in La Fondiaria-SAI to Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze SpA for 12.10 Euros ($13.068) per share.

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