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Altice to up its stake in SFR following watchdog’s rejection of buyout

facade_campus_sfr_maxime_dufour__photographies_3Altice has acquired an additional 5.21% in its French operator subsidiary SFR, taking its stake in the cable and mobile telecom service provider to over 82%.

The all-share manoeuvre will see Altice acquire 23,072,805 SFR Group shares in private off-market transactions in exchange for 36,916,488 common shares A which it held previously as treasury shares. The terms of the exchange – eight new Altice shares for five SFR shares – is exactly the same as that of its previous move to take full control of SFR.

Two weeks ago, the French markets regulator the AMF rejected Altice’s plan to take over all the shares in SFR that it did not already own on the grounds that it had provided insufficient information to minority shareholders.

The offer had already been criticized by some minority shareholders as providing an inadequate premium and being based on a desire by Altice to gain better access to SFR’s dividend rather than – as maintained by Altice – a desire to simplify the company’s structure.

Altice said that following the new transaction it would control 82.94% of the capital and 82.93% of the voting rights of SFR Group.

The rejection by the AMF of Altice’s bid for full control was condemned by Altice CEO Michel Combes as “incomprehensible”. Combes said that the regulator had deprived shareholders of freedome of choice.

Altice terminated the offer, but said that it reserved the right to appeal the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal.

Tags: Altice, France, SFR