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Drahi forges ahead with Altice Europe offer

French billionaire Patrick Drahi officially launched his plan to take Altice Europe private, offering €4.11 ($4.88) per share to buy out minority shareholders of the indebted telecoms company.

Drahi had already indicated his intention to buy the company for around €2.5 billion (US$3 billion) via his holding vehicle Next Private.

The board of Altice Europe reiterated that it unanimously supports the transaction, and recommends shareholders accept the offer. Drahi already owns about 77.6% of the Amsterdam-listed company.

Gimme gimme gimme: Billionaire Patrick Drahi's buyback of Altice Europe has been accused of vastly undervaluing the company.  (Source: Ecole polytechnique on Flickr CC2.0)
Gimme gimme gimme: Billionaire Patrick Drahi's buyback of Altice Europe has been accused of vastly undervaluing the company.
(Source: Ecole polytechnique on Flickr CC2.0)

The offer period runs from November 25 to January 21, 2021, unless it is extended. An EGM is also to be held on January 7 to discuss the offer.

Subject to everything going to plan, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, after which Altice Europe will be delisted from the Amsterdam stock exchange as soon as possible. Drahi plans to fund the buyout through a term loan credit agreement with BNP Paribas.

There has been some resistance to the planned buyout: Hedge fund Lucerne Capital Management said the offer is opportunistic and significantly undervalues the telecoms company.

Focus on the long term

Drahi continues to insist that the proposed ownership structure will better enable Altice Europe to focus on its strategy.

Next Private and Altice Europe said "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."


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Drahi has previously noted that Altice Europe "has a unique asset base, fully converged and fiber rich, with a leading position and nationwide fixed and mobile coverage across markets."

Altice Europe owns SFR in France and MEO in Portugal, as well as other operations in Israel and the Dominican Republic.

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.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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