Benetton Group announced last week that Chief Executive Luiggi De Puppi will step down at April’s annual shareholders meeting. His decision followed the successful completion of his mandate, which included selling off Benetton’s unprofitable sports operations.
BNG said it had agreed to sell Rollerblade to cross-town ski company Tecnica’s Prime Newco unit for around €20 million, or $21.8 million in a deal that is expected to close on May 31, 2003.

At closing, Benetton will also transfer other elements pertaining to Rollerblade that will be subject to a separate evaluation, as well as the stake owned in the Benetton Sportsystem Swiss subsidiary.

Benetton sold its Nordica ski and ski boot business back to Tecnica in January. The company is still seeking a buyer for the Prince brand.

The deal with Tecnica also calls for BNG to receive 1.5% of the Rollerblade revenues for the next 5 years, or a minimum of €5 million over that period.

Rollerblade is expected to see €66.0 million ($69.2 million) in revenues in 2002, selling 1.4 million skates.
There is a bit of a family purge in the BNG business, with only Chairman Luciano Benetton remaining from the family that controls the company. Mr. Benetton said that his three siblings will step down from their management positions in the family business.

The three family members falling on their swords are taking the blame for the early nineties buying spree that netted them a number of key sports brands that were each number one in their category. Mr. Benetton said the problems with making money out of the Nordica, Rollerblade, Prince and other sports brands made him realize the family had made a mistake.

The brands, once totaling close to $1 billion in sales, now generate less than Rollerblade did at its peak.

Benetton Group said in February that it is likely to post a full-year 2002 net loss for the first time ever because of one-time charges stemming from the sale of the Benetton Sportsystem brands.