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Mysterious takeover bid for Cole National

October 10 2003

'No comment' is the official reply for the moment, but according to rumors in the marketplace, Luxottica is the mysterious buyer who's prepared to make a 320 million dollar takeover bid (19.65 dollars per share) for the Cole National group.

Following the announcement, shares in the company soared last night by 70% with record volumes. Making the operators think that the Agordo-based group is behind it are the recent statements made by Leonardo Del Vecchio about his intention to increase market share (currently at 15%) in the US.

Cole National has a 6.5% share, 2,181 stores in the United States and Canada, and the Things Remembered chain with over 754 outlets operating in the giftware sector. It also controls 21% of the Pearle Europe chain of stores (1,468 outlets in 13 countries, including the 35 of the Avanzi chain in Italy).

Cole management resigned last night after setting a commission of independent experts the task of evaluating the offer and engaging Lehman Brothers as advisors.

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