TAKEOVERS: Down, But Not Out

Down, But Not Out

Belgians were outraged when Italy's Carlo De Benedetti, 53, the aggressive chairman of Olivetti, announced plans last January to take control of Societe Generale de Belgique, their country's largest and most diversified company. Last week, with the help of Compagnie Financiere de Suez, a French merchant bank, they managed to stop him -- at least for the moment.

The showdown came at an emergency stockholders meeting demanded by De Benedetti and his allies, where more than 1,000 shareholders crowded into a carnival tent set up behind Societe Generale's elegant offices in Brussels. Despite a last-minute plea by De Benedetti, in which...

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