Cogeco rejects revised C$11.1bn Altice USA bid

The Audet family, which holds a controlling interest in Canada’s Cogeco, has rejected a revised offer to acquire the company by Altice USA. Altice had been hoping to take over Cogeco’s US subsidiary Atlantic Broadband and divest the Canadian operation to Rogers Communications.

Altice USA presented a revised offer to acquire 100% of Cogeco for C$11.1 billion over the weekend and revised its arrangement with Rogers, which is Cogeco’s largest shareholder, to sell the Canadian assets at an adjusted net price of C$5.2 billion.

The offer included a premium on shares controlled by Cogeco chairman Louis Audet and his family, amounting to an offer of C$900 million for those shares.

Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei described the offer as “incredibly attractive” and said that it “significantly rewards all shareholders and incorporates feedback from recent discussions with holders of subordinate voting shares”. He encouraged the Cogeco boards to “act in the best interest of all shareholders and stakeholders” and “engage with us to discuss our proposal.”

Altice USA added the proviso that if the offer was not accepted by November 18 or a clear path to complete the deal was not forthcoming by that date, it would withdraw.

However, Goei’s appeal fell on deaf ears, as the Audet family immediately rejected the new offer, adding that they were not doing so as part of a negotiating strategy but were making a “definitive refusal” to sell.

Ontario-based Rogers had made a commitment to keep Cogeco headquartered in Quebec, addressing concerns obliquely expressed by the Quebec government over Rogers’ plans.

The Audets, who control an absolute majority of voting rights in Cogeco, had previously accused Altice USA and Rogers of bad faith and of attempting to sow discord among Cogeco investors.

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