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Benettons Could Cut Stake In Autogrill Business

By Dave Simpson

The Benetton family is open to a potential deal to expand Autogrill AGL.MI and may reduce its majority stake in the group, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday 19 April, adding that the family wants to remain a key investor.

Motorway and airport caterer Autogrill said earlier it was having talks with industry peers and reviewing its options after Bloomberg reported on a potential tie-up with Swiss duty-free retailer Dufry DUFN.S.

The Milan-based caterer is 50.1% owned by the Benetton family, which last week teamed up with US investment fund Blackstone BX.N to announce a multibillion-euro bid to buy out infrastructure group Atlantia ATL.MI.

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"The group is interested in exploring various strategic options, and to this end it is having talks also with sector participants to further promote the development of Autogrill and create value for all stakeholders," Autogrill said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from Dufry.

Shares in Autogrill rose more than 10% on Tuesday 19 April after the Bloomberg report said that Dufry was exploring a possible combination with the Italian group.

Autogrill operates in 30 countries and had revenues of €2.6 billion in 2021. Dufry had turnover of 3.9 billion Swiss francs ($4.1 billion) last year.

In January the Benettons had said that Autogrill was among strategic investments for the family.

The source on Tuesday 19 April said that under the leadership of Benetton scion Alessandro the family was taking a more active approach in the overhaul of its economic empire. The source confirmed that the Benettons did not want to exit from Autogrill.

The possibility of a tie-up between Autogrill and Dufry also surfaced in June last year. At that time, both the Italian caterer and the Swiss group dismissed the idea of an alliance.

Benettons Open To M&A For Autogrill, Will Remain Key Investor - Source

The above news followed news that the Benetton family is open to a potential deal that would expand Autogrill AGL.MI and may reduce its 50.1% in the Italian group, a source familiar with the matter said, adding the family intends to remain a key investor in the caterer.

Autogrill on Tuesday April 19 said that it was having talks with industry peers and reviewing its options after Bloomberg reported on a potential tie-up with Swiss duty-free retailer Dufry DUFN.S.

Autogrill Shares Up 8.5% On Report Of possible Tie-Up With Dufry

All of the above news followed news that shares in Italian motorway and airport caterer Autogrill AGL.MI rose 8.5% on Tuesday 19 April, triggering an automatic trading suspension, after a Bloomberg report about a potential tie-up with Swiss duty-free retailer Dufry DUFN.S.

A Milan-based analyst said shares were rising on the report, which said that Dufry was exploring a possible combination with the Italian group, adding discussions were at a preliminary stage and may not lead to a deal.

Both Autogrill and its parent company Edizione, the holding company of Italy's Benetton family, were not immediately available for a comment.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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