RCS presents 400-million-euro capital increase in 3-yr plan

Minority shareholder Diego Della Valle objects to terms

RCS presents 400-million-euro capital increase in 3-yr plan

Milan, April 15 - The financially troubled and highly influential Italian publisher RCS presented a three-year turnaround plan to financial analysts on Monday, even as a major minority shareholder expressed misgivings about terms of a capital increase that is a central part of the strategy. RCS publishes Italy's largest national newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, as well as a number of other major publications. The market knocked RCS stock down 6.84% to 0.8 euros per share after it reported losses of 500 million euros for 2012 and board approval of a 400-million-euro capital increase, which may dilute existing stakes in the company. RCS Chief Executive Pietro Scott Jovane claimed that the board members and shareholders of the company "strongly believe" in its three-year relaunch plan during a presentation to financial analysts on Monday. Yet RCS shareholder Diego Della Valle sent a letter to RCS objecting to the terms of a capital increase and denouncing possible conflicts of interest, financial sources confirmed on Monday after press reports of the letter. The Tod's shoe magnate holds an 8.69% minority stake in RCS, and his letter came after a board meeting held on Sunday that reviewed the capital increase plan. RCS Financial Director Riccardo Taranto told analysts on Monday that "91% of the capital increase is guaranteed and we expect to arrive at 100%". Taranto also announced that RCS aimed to sell off non-core assets worth 250 million euros by the end of 2014. Assets that might go include the historic downtown Milan headquarters of Il Corriere della Sera and its sibling sports paper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, in which a number of investors have expressed interest. But the deal closest to closure regards an online services and advertising company in which RCS has a controlling stake, called Dada. "The closest deal could be connected to Dada," Taranto said, and added that a deal may be announced involving its "data room" at the end of April or in May. Dada claims 510,000 business clients and more than 1.8 million domains under management.

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