- Altice will recover the remaining 22.5% of the capital of SFR which it does not yet hold.
- The OPE has received the approval of the boards of directors of Altice and SFR Group.
- The offer is still subject to the green light from the AMF and the Dutch Securities and Markets Authority.
- In the first quarter of 2016, the French operator lost more than one million customers and conceded a loss of 41 million euros.
The media and telecoms group Altice announced on Monday, September 5, a voluntary OPE project to take over all of the SFR Group shares. Based in Amsterdam, the multinational founded by Patrick Drahi does not yet hold the remaining 22.5% of the capital of the French operator. The transaction is expected to be finalized during the fourth quarter of 2016.
The EPO filed by Altice with the Autorité des marchés financiers should result in an exchange on the basis of 8 new Altice NV category A ordinary shares for 5 SFR Group shares contributed. Subject to no minimum acceptance threshold, the offer has already received the green light from the boards of directors of Altice and SFR Group. However, the transaction “is still subject to the approval of the AMF and the Dutch Securities and Markets Authority», Specifies Altice in a statement.
A debt of 50 billion euros
Once finalized, this OPE would allow shareholders to benefit from a “diversification in markets with stronger growth, structurally buoyant and where Altice enjoys a strong positioning, in particular on the American market“, According to Altice. Across the Atlantic, Patrick Drahi has also received the agreement of the New York Public Service Commission to buy the American cable operator Cablevision last June.
The OPE project initiated by Altice comes in a delicate context for SFR. At the end of July, the management of the operator announced a plan to reduce its workforce, providing for the elimination of 5,000 jobs, or one third of the jobs within SFR, by 2019. In response, the CGT and CFE -CGC called the employees of the SFR-Numericable group to a national strike day on Tuesday, September 6. In the first quarter of 2016, the French operator lost more than a million customers. Over the first three months of the year, SFR recorded a loss of 41 million euros, against a profit of 743 million euros over the same period a year ago. In this climate, the urgency for Altice is therefore to regain the profitability necessary to repay the group’s debt of more than 50 billion euros.