Oct 5, 2010
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Funds eye Italian retailer Coin; shares up

Oct 5, 2010

MILAN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Private equity funds Clessidra and Carlyle [CYL.UL] said on Tuesday they were interested in Italy's Guppo Coin (GCN.MI), helping shares in the department store chain rise to a nine-year high.

Coin Group

PAI Partners is selling its 69 percent stake in Coin, which owns the Coin and Oviesse stores. In January, Coin bought smaller rival Upim, becoming the biggest clothing retailer in Italy.

"It's a very nice company with an excellent management," Clessidra CEO Claudio Sposito told reporters on the sidelines of a private equity conference. "It is a big operation, we could make it through a consortium with an international player."

Separately, Carlyle managing director Marco De Benedetti said at the same event his fund would certainly look at Coin but declined to say whether it would join forces with a partner.

By 1401 GMT Coin shares were up 4.7 percent in heavy volume to 7.76 euros after reaching the highest level since September 2001 at 8.03 euros earlier, which valued Coin at more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion). The broader Milan index .FTITLMS was up 1.6 percent.

PAI Partners, which is advised by UBS (UBSN.VX) and Mediobanca (MDBI.MI), aims to auction its stake by the end of 2010, a source close to the matter said last month.

Two sources close to the matter have said the whole company is worth 1.5 billion euros. The average estimate of six analysts values Coin at around 1.1 billion euros, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Expressions of interest are expected in the first week of November. Sources have said equity funds Apax, Cinven [CINV.UL], TPG [TPG.UL] and Investindustrial are also interested.

(Writing by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Sharon Lindores) ($1=.7261 Euro)

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