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Agnelli-backed Fund Ups its Stake in Ocado

A fund led by former UK chancellor George Osborne and supported by the Agnelli family of Italy has raised its position in robotics and online grocery retailer Ocado to above the 5% disclosure level.

Exor, the holding company owned by the Agnelli family, announced the position in regulatory documents on Monday. Lingotto Investment Management is a brand-new $3 billion corporation. It follows last week’s rumours that technology firms like Amazon would make an offer for Ocado.

The Ocado role held by Lingotto is managed by Matteo Scolari, who is also in charge of overseeing the asset manager’s public investments. In 2017, the company began hiring for the position.

In his most recent annual letter to shareholders, John Elkann, chair of Stellantis and scion of the wealthy Agnelli industrial dynasty, stated that the Ocado investment had been the portfolio’s biggest performance detractor in 2022 “as online grocery shopping normalised with consumers returning to work.” He did, however, claim that Scolari took advantage of the decline in Ocado’s share price to increase his investment.

In the UK, Ocado is well-known as a provider of goods online. However, it has placed its future on selling its robotic warehouses to conventional supermarkets like Kroger in the US to help them enhance their reputations in e-commerce.

Since reaching a record in September 2020, when the pandemic-driven boom in internet shopping petered out, shares have fallen by 81 percent. It announced a £501 million pre-tax loss for the year in February, the largest loss in its 23 years of business, and its 50/50 joint venture with Marks and Spencer also posted a loss.

In response to the report of prospective bid interest last week, Ocado and Amazon both declined to comment, but Ocado’s shares increased by more than a third.

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