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Tue, Jul 13, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Prada SpA denies Shanghai tycoon is buying its shares

AFP , SHANGHAI

A Chinese tycoon has been quietly buying up shares in Italian fashion house Prada SpA in a bid to become the biggest shareholder, his company said yesterday but Prada in Italy denied this as being completely unfounded.

Lu Qiang’s (陸強) bid was reported by China’s Economic Observer newspaper yesterday.

However, Lu, chairman of Shanghai-based fashion factory outlet Foxtown (東方狐狸城) may abandon the plans, saying Prada had raised its price for the additional stake after learning of his involvement.

“We had not planned to make the bid public. But somehow one media got the news and had a report on this. The price then became very high and therefore we are considering dropping the idea,” a FoxTown spokeswoman told reporters.

The newspaper said Lu had indirectly acquired 13 percent of Prada over the past two years and aimed to become its biggest shareholder with the planned acquisition of an additional stake of up to 20 percent.

In Italy, a Prada executive, who declined to be named, told reporters that the assertion by Lu that he had bought 13 percent of the business was “totally unfounded.”

“No member of the Prada family has sold shares to Lu Qiang,” the executive said, adding that of the capital “94.89 percent is held by the Prada family and Mr Bertelli, husband of Miucha Prada, and 5.11 percent by the Intesa Sanpaulo bank.”

In Shanghai, the newspaper report said Lu had been buying shares through an unidentified Italian consulting firm, which he had acquired for 20 million euros (US$25 million).

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