Lactalis launches buyout bid to delist Parmalat
Milan — France’s Lactalis, the world’s largest dairy firm, said on Tuesday it was launching a buyout offer for shares in Italian group Parmalat it does not already own, with the aim to delist the company from the Milan stock exchange. The announcement comes as French media group Vivendi’s raid on Silvio Berlusconi’s broadcaster Mediaset has rekindled concerns about Italian companies falling into foreign hands. Lactalis for years denied speculation that it planned to delist Parmalat, which was relaunched in 2005 after going bankrupt following a financial scandal two years earlier, to have free rein in running the group. In a statement on Tuesday, Sofil — the investment vehicle of the Besnier family that owns Lactalis — said it would continue to support Parmalat’s growth, adding that this goal would be easier to reach with a smaller shareholder base. Shares in Parmalat, based outside Parma and best known for its long-life milk, jumped more than 10% on Tuesday to touch their highest le...
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