Safilo Buyout Talks Could Miss Deadline

(Reuters) – Italy eyewear company Safilo SpA’s (SFLG.MI) talks with private equity funds on taking a stake in the company could slip beyond the end-June target for completion, a source close to the talks said on Friday.

Any deal on a stake purchase, plus parallel talks between Safilo and its banks on a renegotiation of the company’s debt, could take until the end of the summer, the source said.

Safilo Chief Executive Roberto Vedovotto said at the end of April he hoped talks between Safilo’s main shareholder Only 3T and four private equity funds would reach a conclusion by the end of June. [ID:nLR365471]

Two of the funds had dropped out, the source added, leaving only Bain Capital and Pai Partners in the running for a stake in Safilo, though a second source close to the talks said discussions between Only 3T and all four funds — including Apax Partners and CVC Capital — were continuing.

Bain and Pai intend to take their time studying Safilo before making any decision on whether to invest, “also because in this phase (of the market) there are certainly not many deals in the pipeline”, the first source added.

Safilo’s net debt reached nearly 618 million euros ($852 million) at the end of March, up from 570 million at the end of 2008. Its shares closed down 3.5 percent at 0.4470 euros. (Reporting by Massimo Gaia and Cristina Carlevaro; Writing by Nigel Tutt; Editing by David Holmes)