Carlo de Benedetti’s Compagnie Industriali Riunite SpA holding company has increased its holding in Ing C Olivetti SpA to 20% from the previous 14% by buying shares in the open market, in a move that de Benedetti says is intended to make clear his long term commitment to Olivetti. Half the Riunite shares are voted in a shareholder syndicate that has 19% of the total Olivetti shares outstanding and is in alliance with de Benedetti, so that he effectively now controls 30% of the equity where previously his direct and indirect stakes were about matched by the 22% held by AT&T Co. The additional shares bought by de Benedetti have an indicated value of about $210m; with regard to AT&T he reportedly told L’Espresso newspaper that while he hoped that AT&T would remain a shareholder, Olivetti no longer needs a big partner.
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