Ponti outfits called broke despite Cecchi Gori bid

ROME — A trio of companies in Tuscany owned by legendary Italian film producer Carlo Ponti were declared bankrupt last week by a Pisa tribunal court. The decision came as a surprise following a recent offer of approximately $12.5 million from the Cecchi Gori Group to take control of the ailing businesses.

The three companies, which operated under Ponti’s Cosmopolitan banner, include Cosmopolitan Film — one of the leading forces in Italian cinema during the 1950s — as well as the Tirrenia Golf Club and Tirrenia Consortium. The operations reportedly had accumulated losses of $25 million.

Cecchi Gori’s plan to acquire the companies involved the subsequent leasing of the golf course, club house and 60-apartment residence to tourism and leisure outfit Valtur. But despite credit being teed up from various regional banks, Cecchi Gori’s offer was judged insufficient by the court.

Ponti, who has been based in Los Angeles for many years, has declared his intention to challenge the court’s decision. Vittorio Cecchi Gori, a native of Tuscany with multiple business interests in the region, has reiterated that his company’s takeover bid still stands.

“I am pained by the tribunal’s decision given that this matter is particularly close to my heart because of the close friendship binding me to the Ponti family and the symbolic significance that Tirrenia holds in my past as a producer,” commented Cecchi Gori.

Following the court’s declaration of bankruptcy, investigating magistrate Nicola Pisano announced the start of a probe into suspected irregularities in the administration of Cosmopolitan. The group was managed in the past by Ponti’s daughter Guendalina Ponti, and more recently by Valerio Veltroni, the brother of Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Walter Veltroni.

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