Dec 15, 2010
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Tod's founder Della Valle sells 10 pct stake

Dec 15, 2010

MILAN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The founder of Tod's (TOD.MI) Diego Della Valle and his brother completed the sale of a minority stake in the Italian luxury goods maker on Wednesday, which has left investors guessing about their future plans.

Chairman and Chief Executive Della Valle and Vice Chairman Andrea Della Valle, his brother, sold a total of 3.06 million shares at 76 euros ($102) each, Tod's said.

The shares were sold at a discount of 9.5 percent to Tuesday's closing price of 84 euros.

Della Valle, one of Italy's most powerful industrialists, has repeatedly said he wanted to raise Tod's free float while keeping control of the luxury shoe maker, in which the family now owns 57 percent.

He said the move was in light of Tod's entry into the blue-chip FTSE MIB index on Dec. 20.

But analysts have questioned Della Valle's future intentions after his stake-building in the U.S. retailer Saks (SKS.N) in October sparked speculation of a takeover bid.

Della Valle told Reuters last month he was not currently planning to raise his stake in Saks.

"The question arising from this move is about the intention to increase Diego Della Valle's personal stake in the American retailer Saks," Banca Akros said in a note on Wednesday. It also cited a liquidity increase as the main reason behind the sale.

Shares in Tod's were down 8.71 percent at 76.68 euros at 1117 GMT, after a strong performance this year. Milan's FTSE MIB was down 1.66 percent.

(Reporting by Antonella Ciancio and Sabina Suzzi, Editing by Jane Merriman) ($1=.7454 Euro)

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