Market rigging investigation will have no impact on Lactalis bid, analyst

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Italy Stock market

An Italian police investigation into allegations of market rigging surrounding the Lactalis purchase of shares in Parmalat SpA (PLT) won't jeapardise its takeover bid, according to a leading analyst.

Milanese prosecutor, Eugenio Fusco, is carrying out the investigation to find out if Fabio Canè, head of Special Projects/Private Equity at Intesa Sanpaolo, tipped off Lactalis' advisers about the price which Intesa Sanpaolo had offered to pay the activist group for its 15 per cent, reports said.

The group comprises three foreign funds: Skagen AS, Mackenzie Financial and Zenit Asset Management AB.

Financial broker MF Global said it did not believe the news had any significance for Lactalis or its bid.


As part of the inquiry, searches took place in the offices of Société Générale, Crédit Agricole, Intesa Sanpaolo, Lazard and PR firms, Brunswick and Image Building.

As well as Canè, the search warrant refers to three other people: Patrizia Micucci, head of investment Banking (Italy) at Société Générale and Mrs Canè; Carlo Salvatori, chairman of Lazard Italy; and Massimo Rossi, former Swedish Match CEO and a PLT Board nominee of the activist group.

According to MF Global, Lactalis is not subject to the investigation.

In a statement Lactalis said: “Lactalis Group is completely available to authorities and is certain of its total correctness and transparency in its operations to buy Parmalat SpA shares​”.

A further allegation relates to publication of misleading information which resulted in a change in the PLT’s share price; specifically, certain statements published on 25 January, 8 March and 22 March, news reports said.

Intesa Sanpaolo was seeking to establish an Italian alliance which would bid to keep PLT in Italian hands, said MF Global. Lazard advised the activist group on the sale to Lactalis. Société Générale and Crédit Agricole are advising Lactalis on its bid for PLT.

Updates came in as PLT’s board met yesterday to present the firm’s Q1 2011 results.

Lactalis takeover bid

At the end of last month, Lactalis mounted a €3.4bn takeover bid for PLT after government resistance frustrated its initial move to gain control of the company.

The privately-owned French dairy upped its shareholding in PLT to 29 per cent some weeks ago – just short of the threshold for a mandatory takeover bid.

Now it has decided to cross the line and has offered €2.60 a share to acquire PLT in full.

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