The ongoing saga of the attempt by French billionaire Patrick Drahi to take Altice Europe private looks set to enter its final chapter next week.
Next Private, the vehicle being used by Drahi to buy out minority shareholders of the indebted telecoms company, announced that the offer for Altice Europe is "unconditional" and said about 90.89% of shares not already owned by Next Private have been tendered.
Once the offer has been settled at a price of €5.35 (US$6.52) per share, with an aggregate value of over €3.1 billion ($3.78 billion), Drahi will own 95.11% of the listed shares. Overall, he will own 92.02% of the total issued share capital of Altice Europe.
The last trading day of Altice Europe shares on Euronext Amsterdam will be January 26, after which the company will finally be delisted and a complex merger transaction will take place to create the "new" Altice Europe B.V.
The process has taken longer than Drahi probably expected when he first announced the offer back in September last year.
At the time, he offered €2.5 billion ($3 billion) to buy out minority shareholders, or €4.11 ($5.01) per share. However, hedge fund Lucerne Capital Management said his offer was opportunistic and significantly undervalued the telecoms company.
After Lucerne and other minority shareholders took the matter to an Amsterdam court, Drahi caved in and raised the offer to €5.35 per share. As a consequence, petitions submitted to the court by Lucerne and other funds were withdrawn.
Drahi officially launched his plan to take Altice Europe private on November 24. At the time, he indirectly owned about 77.58% of Altice Europe's issued share capital.
Next Private and Altice Europe said that "having Altice Europe operate without minority shareholders and without a listing on Euronext Amsterdam (or any other stock exchange) is better for the sustainable success of its business and long-term value creation."
It recently reported a reasonably solid performance in the third quarter, with revenue and EBITDA growth at group level and in its two main markets.
- Drahi buckles under pressure, raises offer for Altice Europe
- Drahi faces opposition over Altice buyout offer
- Drahi forges ahead with Altice Europe offer
- Drahi's Altice takeover plan hits a road bump
- Founder Drahi plans to take Altice Europe private
- Altice Europe steers steady course in Q3 2020
— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading