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UPDATE 1-Iliad buys 12% of Italian consumer electronics retailer Unieuro

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MILAN, April 6 (Reuters) - French telecom operator Iliad said on Tuesday it had bought a 12% stake in Italian consumer electronics retailer Unieuro, becoming its top shareholder.

Iliad, which did not disclose the financial details of the deal, said in a statement it wanted to boost the Italian retailer’s growth prospects.

Unieuro has a market capitalization of around 440 million euros ($522 million) at Tuesday’s closing price.

Unieuro’s stock posted a record high of 22.30 euros on Tuesday, more than tripling its value in the last 12 months, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Iliad, which launched its low-price mobile offer in Italy in 2018 and plans to offer its fixed business in the country by summer, built most of its stake by acquiring Unieuro shares on the market, for a total investment of between 40-50 million euros, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

Unieuro’s revenue rose 9.8% in the financial year ended on Feb. 28 to 2.7 billion euros, marking the best result ever for the retailer.

It benefited from consumer trends triggered by the coronavirus crisis, including remote working, distance learning and increasing demand for products related to home comfort and entertainment. ($1 = 0.8433 euros) (Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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