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Patrick Drahi gets green light to take Altice Europe private

Telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi has received a green light to take Altice Europe private from company shareholders.

Altice Europe founder and majority-owner Patrick Drahi

An EGM on January 7 approved resolutions that enable Drahi to take control of the company and delist it from the Amsterdam stock exchange.

Drahi, who holds 77.6% of Altice Europe, secured a yes vote to his offer of €5.35 a share from over 91% of shareholders present at the EGM, despite the earlier opposition of some minority investors.

Lucerne Capital Management, which advises funds owning about €94 million of Altice Europe stock, wrote a letter in November a letter to the board objecting to the then €4.11 a share offer in strong terms, accusing Drahi of an “illicit” attempt to transfer value to himself under cover of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In December Drahi’s investment vehicle upped its offer to €5.35 a share, thus securing the support of shareholders Boussard & Gavaudan, Diameter, Elliott, LB Partners, Lucerne, Sessa, Sheffield and Winterbrook

A legal filing submitted by Lucerne and another by Sessa, LB Partners, Sheffield and Winterbrook before the Amsterdam Enterprise Chamber were subsequently withdrawn.

Drahi has maintained that taking the operator private will enable the company to focus on long-term strategy. He has contended that a delisting will reduce its costs, eliminating financial reporting and board costs and the need for physical general meetings.

Altice Europe also maintains that debt providers will ‘focus more on fundamental valuation and credit analysis” than equity markets.