Vincent Bollore told Reuters that he is ready to invest EUR30 million ($40 million) to buy a 30 percent stake in Pininfarina S.p.A. Bollore is CEO of Bollore S.A. – an EUR6 billion investment, industrial, logistic and media group.
Bollore is perhaps the most likely bidder for Italy's struggling automotive design and engineering specialist. Pininfarina attested that Bollore has sent a non-binding letter of intent to Banca Leonardo, an Italian merchant bank that wants a buyer for a 76.1 percent stake of Pininfarina owned by creditor banks.
Bollore said it will not exceed a 30 percent stake in Pininfarina. Italian stock market regulations require an investor to buy all the shares in a listed company when its stake exceeds 30 percent.
Pininfarina is listed on the Milan stock exchange. Spurred by rumors of a bid, Pininfarina shares have jumped from a low of EUR1.63 on July 26, 2010 to EUR7.77 in recent trading.
Rival bidder Magna International Inc. has dropped out of the race and Beijing Automotive, which reportedly was eyeing a Pininfarina bid, claims that it is not interested.
Four years ago, Bollore and Pininfarina formed a 50:50 partnership to build electric vehicles and planned to invest EUR150 million to make a four-seat car that Pininfarina would design and that would feature Bollore's lithium ion batteries. [via autonews - sub. required]