L'Espresso seesaws, RCS slumps

UnipolSai's Cimbri denies intent to sell RCS stake

(ANSA) - Milan, March 3 - L'Espresso publishing group, owners of Italy's second-biggest daily La Repubblica, lost 2.2% at the close on the Milan bourse on news of a merger with the Itedi publishing group, owner of the country's third-biggest daily, La Stampa. Fiat Chrysler Automobile's (FCA) Rizzoli-Corriere della Sera Media Group (RCS) - owner of Italy's biggest daily Corriere della Sera and which FCA is divesting - fared even worse, plunging 7.8%. Analysts said the share performance was due to fears that FCA partners with shares in the publishing group will sell them on the market. FCA closed 2% up while the Agnelli holding company Exor was steady. L'Espresso share prices seesawed throughout the trading day following news of its merger with FCA's publishing company Itedi. By lunchtime shares in the group that publishes numerous local papers as well as leading Rome daily La Repubblica and its sister weekly L'Espresso were trading 3% down after earlier being more than 8% up. Itedi, which publishes Turin daily La Stampa and Genoa newspaper Il Secolo XIX, is not quoted separately on the stock exchange. Meanwhile competitor RCS lost 7% after being down 8.2% earlier. La Repubblica and La Stampa, respectively Italy's second and third biggest dailies, said Thursday they will form "a new information hub together". Corriere is Italy's biggest daily and usually described as the newspaper of record.
    Also on Thursday, UnipolSai Assicurazioni SpA CEO Carlo Cimbri denied the Italian financial services company intends to sell its 4.5% stake in RCS. "I never said we want to sell," he said. "There's a new scenario and we need to assess it. Stability must be the priority of shareholders with common sense... we must protect our investment from instability". He also denied UnipolSai intends to increase its RCS stake.