Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Dufry AG agrees to buy majority stake in World Duty Free


Switzerland’s Dufry AG agreed to buy a majority stake in Italian airport retailer World Duty Free SpA to expand globally in a 1.3 billion euro (US$1.42 billion) deal.

Edizione Srl, a holding company controlled by the Benetton family, and its investment vehicle Schematrentaquattro SpA agreed to sell a 50.1 percent stake for 10.25 euros a share, according to an e-mailed statement. The price represents a premium of about 22 percent on the volume-weighted average share price in the past six months, the statement said.

The closing of the sale, expected in the third quarter, is subject to the approval by Dufry’s shareholders of a capital increase aimed at partially financing the transaction and the approval of antitrust authorities. Dufry is then to start a mandatory bid for the rest of the shares.

Acquiring World Duty Free would create a business with projected annual sales of about US$9 billion. Dufry chief executive officer Julian Diaz has expanded the Swiss company through about a dozen acquisitions in the past decade, creating a dominant operator in the field of travel retailing. It acquired Hudson News, a chain of US airport shops in 2008.

World Duty Free operates 495 stores in 98 airports across the world, according to its Web site. The Benetton family has held a controlling 50.1 percent stake since the company was spun off from Autogrill SpA and began trading independently in 2013.

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