Giochi sells Character stake

Italian toy group Giochi Preziosi has sold its 24.1 per cent stake in the Character Group to venture capitalist 3i.
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3i has acquired 11,525,898 ordinary shares, representing approximately 24.1 per cent of the current issued share capital in the group. A senior 3i executive will now join the Character board as a non-executive director. Following the deal, Giochi Preziosi no longer has any stake in the company.

Character’s, executive chairman, Richard King (pictured), commented: “The directors welcome 3i as investors in the group. Clearly, their decision to acquire a stake in our business underpins their confidence in our business model going forward.”

“We also wish to thank Giochi Preziosi, and Enrico Preziosi in particular, for their support over the years and wish the team and the business well for the future and we look forward to continuing to develop our trading relationship. As a group, trading has continued to be strong as we build up towards the end of our financial year in August as well as for the autumn selling season, which includes Christmas and is very important for the next financial year.”

“We will remain focused on improving our operational efficiencies but, more importantly, on our strategy, which is to exploit our in-house capabilities in developing both our own and licensed properties thereby further improving our product portfolio which ultimately will, we believe, be reflected in increased earnings and shareholder value.”

Alan Mackay, 3i Director added: “This is a powerful combination of an ambitious management team, experienced board and a solid strategy for success. 3i looks forward to a close relationship as an actively engaged shareholder, helping the company achieve its vision and reaching the full potential of the business”.

The group has, over the last few weeks, also purchased 5,065,000 ordinary shares in the company, representing approximately 10.6 per cent of the current issued share capital. Following these transactions, it has 47,824,909 ordinary shares in issue (excluding the said shares held in treasury).

As part of the group’s stated objective to enhance shareholder value through the repurchase of its own shares, the directors will continue to monitor the position and will, if appropriate, make further purchases of the company’s own shares.

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