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Benetton Sets Offer to Go Private

MILAN — The family holding company that controls Italian fashion label Benetton has set a price of 4.6 ($A5.69) per share in a public offer that aims to remove the company from the Milan stock exchange.

Edizione's offer represents a 44.6 per cent premium to the share's average price in December and six per cent over the average price over the past 12 months.

Edizione, which already controls slightly over 67 per cent of Benetton Group, will need to spend over 276.6 million euros ($A342.31 million) to acquire the remaining 60 million shares.

The share price of the company, known for its often controversial advertising campaigns, has been hitting lows unseen since 1991 as high raw material costs have pushed down profits.

Italian media speculate that removing the company's shares from the Milan stock exchange, where they have been listed since 1986, may be a sign of a possible carve up of the group among the different branches of the founding family or an international alliance.

Trade in Benetton shares were suspended on Monday due to rumours that had sent its share price soaring.

The company said Tuesday it expected net profit in 2011 to have fallen by around 70 per cent from the year before due to higher raw material costs, with its operating margin having been pushed down to 7.5 per cent from 8.6 per cent.
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